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News

Novel use of melatonin in ulcerative colitis

The latest issue of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases identifies various molecular targets for melatonin with the intent of providing novel strategies for combating ulcerative colitis.

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Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, affects many people across the globe, and its prevalence is increasing steadily.

Drs Gopabandhu Jena and Priyanka Trivedi reviewed the use of melatonin in ulcerative colitis.

The researchers report that inflammation and oxidative stress play a vital role in the perpetuation of inflammatory process and the subsequent DNA damage associated with the development of ulcerative colitis.

The team noted that ulcerative colitis induces not only local but also systemic damage, which involves the perturbation of multiple molecular pathways.

Melatonin has an ability to modulate several molecular pathways of inflammation
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Furthermore, ulcerative colitis leads to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, the third most common malignancy in humans.

The team found that most of the drugs used for the treatment of ulcerative colitis are unsatisfactory because they are generally mono-targeted, relatively ineffective and unaffordable for many people.

Thus, agents that can target multiple molecular pathways and are less expensive have enormous potential to treat ulcerative colitis.

Melatonin has beneficial effects against ulcerative colitis in experimental and clinical studies because of its ability to modulate several molecular pathways of inflammation, oxidative stress, fibrosis, and cellular injury.

However, many novel targets are yet to be explored on which melatonin may act to exert its favorable effects in ulcerative colitis.

The team noted that it is time to explore improved intervention strategies with melatonin in ulcerative colitis on the basis of studies investigating different molecular targets using proteomic and genomic approaches.

Dr Jena and colleague conclude, "This review identifies various molecular targets for melatonin with the intent of providing novel strategies for combating ulcerative colitis, and the associated extraintestinal manifestations of this debilitating disease."

Inflamm Bowel Dis 2014: 20(3): 553-563
24 February 2014

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