Melatonin is a biogenic amine that is found in animals, plants and microbes. Aaron B. Lerner of Yale University is credited for naming the hormone and for defining its chemical structure in 1958. In mammals, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland. The pineal gland is small endocrine gland, about the size of a rice grain and shaped like a pine cone (hence the name), that is located in the center of the brain (rostro-dorsal to the superior colliculus) but outside the blood-brain barrier. The secretion of melatonin increases in darkness and decreases during exposure to light, thereby regulating the circadian rhythms of several biological functions, including the sleep-wake cycle. In particular, melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering the body temperature. Melatonin is also implicated in the regulation of mood, learning and memory, immune activity, dreaming, fertility and reproduction. Melatonin is also an effective antioxidant. Most of the actions of melatonin are mediated through the binding and activation of melatonin receptors. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have lower than normal levels of melatonin. A 2008 study found that unaffected parents of individuals with ASD also have lower melatonin levels, and that the deficits were associated with low activity of the ASMT gene, which encodes the last enzyme of melatonin synthesis. Reduced melatonin production has also been proposed as a likely factor in the significantly higher cancer rates in night workers.
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European Medicines Agency. European public assessment reports (EPAR).
Drugbank, The DrugBank database is a unique bioinformatics and cheminformatics resource that combines detailed drug data with comprehensive drug target information.
PubChem, PubChem is the world's largest collection of freely accessible chemical information. Search chemicals by name, molecular formula, structure, and other identifiers
ECHA, The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is the driving force among regulatory authorities in implementing the EU's groundbreaking chemicals legislation for the benefit of human health and the environment as well as for innovation and competitiveness.
EMA, The mission of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is to foster scientific excellence in the evaluation and supervision of medicines, for the benefit of public and animal health in the European Union (EU).
EU watch-list, Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/840 of 5 June 2018 establishing a watch list of substances for Union-wide monitoring in the field of water policy pursuant to Directive 2008/105/EC of the European Parliament.
Umweltbundesamt, Since its founding in 1974, the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) has been Germany’s main environmental protection agency.
Naturvårdsverket, A public agency in Sweden that is responsible for environmental issues. The Agency carries out assignments on behalf of the Swedish Government relating to the environment in Sweden, the EU and internationally
Läkemedelsverket, The Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) is the Swedish national authority responsible for regulation and surveillance of the development, manufacturing and marketing of drugs and other medicinal products.
FASS, The Swedish environmental classification of pharmaceuticals at www.fass.se has now been running since October 2005. Since then a large amount of environmental information of pharmaceuticals has been published.
Janusinfo, Janusinfo is providing drug information to support healthcare professionals in their everyday work. The website is the electronic means of communication of the Drug Therapeutic Committee and the Health and Medical Care Administration of the Stockholm County Council, Sweden.