Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 980374, 6 pages
Review Article

Protective Role of Melatonin in Neonatal Diseases

1Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Messina, Via Consolare Valeria, 98125 Messina, Italy
2Unit of Pediatric Genetics and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Messina, Via Consolare Valeria 1, 98125 Messina, Italy
3Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 40729, USA

Received 27 September 2013; Accepted 7 November 2013

Academic Editor: Serafina Perrone

Copyright © 2013 Eloisa Gitto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxidative stress contributes to the severity of several newborn conditions to the extent that Saugstad coined the phrase “oxygen radical diseases of neonatology.” In order to counteract free radicals damage many strategies to augment antioxidant status in ill-term and preterm infants have been proposed and several medications have been experimented with mixed results. Several studies have tested the efficacy of melatonin to counteract oxidative damage in diseases of newborns such as chronic lung disease, perinatal brain injury, necrotizing enterocolitis, and retinopathy of prematurity, giving promising results. The peculiar perinatal susceptibility to oxidative stress indicates that prophylactic use of antioxidants as melatonin could help to prevent or at least reduce oxidative stress related diseases in newborns. However, more studies are needed to confirm these beneficial effects.