Circadian Function and Therapeutic Potential of Melatonin in Humans

A. J. Lewy, J. Songer, K. Yuhas, J. S. Emens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


A primary role for melatonin relates to the human circadian system. Endogenous melatonin production is the ideal marker for biological time. Its physiological function in humans probably relates to the fact that low physiological doses of melatonin cause phase advances when administered in the morning and cause phase delays when administered in the afternoon/evening, the treatment of choice for free-running totally blind people. Bright light, the treatment of choice for circadian abnormalities in sighted people, causes phase advances when scheduled in the morning and phase delays when scheduled in the evening. Future interest in this area is expected to markedly increase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier Ltd
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780080450469
StatePublished - 2009


  • Blind free-runners (BFRs)
  • Circadian alignment/misalignment
  • Circadian period (tau)
  • Circadian time (CT)
  • Dim light melatonin onset (DLMO)
  • Entrainment
  • Light
  • Melatonin
  • Melatonin suppression test (MST)
  • Phase advance
  • Phase angle difference (PAD)
  • Phase angle of entrainment (PAE)
  • Phase delay
  • Phase response curve (PRC)
  • Pineal gland
  • Relative coordination
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Zeitgeber time (ZT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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