Melatonin as a potential antihypertensive treatment


  • Fedor Simko,

    1. Department of Pathophysiology
    2. 3rd Clinic of Medicine, School of Medicine
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  • Ludovit Paulis

    1. Department of Pathophysiology
    2. Institute of Normal and Pathological Physiology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
    3. Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic
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Address reprint requests to Prof. Fedor Simko MD, PhD, Department of Pathophysiology, School of Medicine, Komensky University, Sasinkova 4, 811 08 Bratislava, Slovak Republic.


Abstract:  The number of patients with well-controlled hypertension is alarmingly low worldwide and new approaches to treatment of increased blood pressure (BP) are being sought. Melatonin has a role in blood pressure regulation. The nighttime production of melatonin is found to be reduced in hypertensive individuals. Administration of melatonin decreased BP in several animal models of hypertension, in healthy men and women, and in patients with arterial hypertension. Most promising results were achieved in patients with non-dipping nighttime pressure, in which the circadian rhythm of BP variation is disturbed. Several potential mechanisms of BP reduction are considered. Melatonin can, via its scavenging and antioxidant nature, improve endothelial function with increased availability of nitric oxide exerting vasodilatory and hypotensive effects. Melatonin seems to interfere with peripheral and central autonomic system, with a subsequent decrease in the tone of the adrenergic system and an increase of the cholinergic system. Melatonin may act on BP also via specific melatonin receptors localized in peripheral vessels or in parts of central nervous system participating in BP control. With a large clinical trial using melatonin in hypertension treatment, many important questions could be answered, such as the dose of melatonin and regimen of its application, the choice of patients with greatest possible benefit from melatonin treatment, the potential of anti-remodeling effect of melatonin and the interaction of melatonin with other antihypertensive drugs.