Dictionary > Melatonin

Melatonin

Definition
noun, plural: melatonin or melatonins
The hormone involved in the regulation of several physiological mechanisms in living things, such as circadian rhythm in animals, colour changes in the skin of reptiles, reproductive cycles in mammals, and defense against oxidative stress in plants
Supplement
Melatonin is associated with the regulation of circadian rhythm, colour changes in the skin of reptiles, and reproductive cycles in mammals. As regards circadian rhythm, it is involved in sleep-wake timing, blood pressure regulation, seasonal reproduction, etc. Melatonin is also produced in plants where it is involved in defending plants from oxidative stress.
Melatonin is one of the many types of hormones. In animals, hormones are substances produced and secreted by an endocrine gland, the ductless gland of the endocrine system. In humans and other vertebrates, the melatonin is a hormone produced and secreted by the pineal gland. The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland shaped like a pinecone, located in the epithalamus. It is comprised mainly of pinealocytes, which are cells that produce melatonin. The secretion of melatonin is regulated by norepinephrine. Melatonin is produced usually at night (darkness). The duration of melatonin production is affected by the differing duration of nighttime. This consequently serves as a signal for photoperiodic biological functions such as mentioned above.
In plants, the melatonin is an efficient protector against stress. In the event of a stress, such as fungal infection and temperature extremes, there is a heightened production of melatonin in plants. It actively scavenges free radicals in plants and can activate antioxidant enzymes. Apart from this, it is also involved in regulating plant growth.
IUPAC name:

  • N-2-(5-Methoxy-1H-indol-3-yl)ethylacetamide

Chemical formula:

  • C13H16N2O2
  • Also called:

    • N-acetyl-5-methoxy tryptamine

    See also:

  • pineal
  • oestrus
  • pinealocyte
  • circadian rhythm


    You will also like...

    Adaptive Radiation
    Adaptive Radiation

    The diversification of several new species from a recent ancestral source, each adapted to utilize or occupy a vacant ad..

    Genetics – Lesson Outline & Worksheets
    Genetics – Lesson Outline & Worksheets

      Topics Modules Quizzes/Worksheets Description Introduction to Genetics Genetics – Definition: Heredity and ..

    Angle Oak Tree
    Seed Plants

    Seed plants are vascular plants. They differ from the other vascular plants in producing seeds that germinate into a new..

    New Zealand Flora & Fauna
    Ecology & Biodiversity: New Zealand Flora & Fauna

    New Zealand is known for its unique biodiversity, caused by its remarkable geography and geologic history. Breaking away..

    squirrel
    Animal Water Regulation

    Animals adapt to their environment in aspects of anatomy, physiology, and behavior. This tutorial will help you understa..

    DNA molecule
    Genetic Control – On and Off Genes

    Genes are the blueprint of our bodies, a blueprint that creates a variety of proteins essential to any organism's surviv..