ACS CHEMICAL NEUROSCIENCE, vol.12, no.8, pp.1281-1292, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
Epilepsy is a result of unprovoked, uncontrollable, and repetitive outburst of abnormal and excessive electrical discharges, known as seizures, in the neurons. Epilepsy is a devastating neurological condition that affects 70 million people globally. Unfortunately, only two-thirds of epilepsy patients respond to antiepileptic drugs while others become drug resistant and may be more prone to epilepsy comorbidities such as SUDEP. Oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, imbalance in the excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, and neuroinflammation are some of the common pathologies of neurological disorders and epilepsy. Studies suggests that melatonin, a pineal hormone that governs sleep-wake cycles, may be neuroprotective against neurological disorders and thus may be translated as an antiepileptic as well. Melatonin has been shown to be an antioxidant, antiexcitotoxic, and anti-inflammatory hormone/molecule in neurodegenerative diseases, which may contribute to its antiepileptic and neuroprotective properties in epilepsy as well. In addition, melatonin has evidently been shown to play a regulatory role in the cardiorespiratory system and sleep-wake cycles, which may have positive implications toward epilepsy associated comorbidities, such as SUDEP. However, studies investigating the changes in melatonin release due to epilepsy and melatonin's antiepileptic role have been inconclusive and scarce, respectively. Thus, this comprehensive review aims to summarize and elucidate the potential role of melatonin in the pathogenesis of epilepsy and its comorbidities, in hopes to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that will improve the lives of epileptic patients, particularly those who are drug resistant.