News in pediatric Gastroenterology pharmacology
Melatonin and the gastrointestinal tract: what evidence
Pediatria, Ospedale “F. Del Ponte”, Università dell’Insubria, Varese
Melatonin has an important role in human health, acting as a chrono-biotic molecule, regulating the sleep-wake rhythm, and promoting falling asleep. In addition, through extra-epiphyseal production and interaction with specific receptors, it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, cytoprotective and neuroprotective, antihypertensive, circulatory, and gastrointestinal actions. Some studies have suggested a possible therapeutic effect of melatonin in different gastrointestinal diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and infantile colic. However, these effects need to be further demonstrated in humans and, at present, do not allow for clear indications for use in pediatric gastrointestinal disorders.