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A Journal on Endocrine System Diseases

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Minerva Endocrinologica 2003 December;28(4):313-20

language: English

Melatonin and energy homeostasis: peripheral versus central regulation

Delagrange P., Jockers R.


Melatonin, the hormone of darkness, has been known for a long time to be a major regulator of energy homeostasis in hibernating animals. Much less is known about the role of melatonin in energy homeostasis in non-hibernating animals, including humans. In mammals, two specific melatonin receptor subtypes, MT1 and MT2, have been cloned and are known to be expressed at central and peripheral sites. Although a central regulation of energy homeostasis has been widely accepted for hibernating animals, the exact site of melatonin action remains still poorly defined. Central effects appear to be predominantly mediated by the MT1 subtype. Recently, several groups showed that melatonin may also have a direct effect on peripheral tissues involved in energy homeostasis such as pancreatic b cell, hepatocytes and adipocytes. Both, the MT1 and MT2 subtypes appear to be involved. The respective contribution of central and peripheral effects of melatonin on energy homeostasis in vivo must be established in future studies.

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