Melatonin therapy, generally used for regulating sleeping patterns and reducing jet lag, can effectively treat a common inflammatory eye disease, according to researchers.
The common inflammatory eye disease called uveitis is often accompanied by sudden redness and pain in eyes. It untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss.
A team of researchers from the University of Buenos Aires and The National Research Council (CONICET) has found that melatonin treatment significantly reduced the levels of TNFa and NF?B, the factors that contribute to inflammation.
The treatment also decreased the appearance of clinical symptoms of uveitis such as inflammation, blood vessel expansion and cataract, and protected the blood-ocular barrier integrity.
The researchers suggest that either alone or combined with corticosteroid therapy, the anti-inflammatory effects of melatonin may benefit patients with chronic uveitis and decrease the rate and degree of corticosteroid-induced complications.
Their next step will be to find out the mechanisms governing melatonin protection in the eye.
The study "Therapeutic Effect of Melatonin in Experimental Uveitis" appears in the December issue of The American Journal of Pathology.