Skip to Content
Medical Term:


Pronunciation: mel'a-ton'in

Definition: a substance formed by the mammalian pineal gland, which appears to depress gonadal function in mammals and causes contraction of amphibian melanophores; a precursor is serotonin. Melatonin is rapidly metabolized and is taken up by all tissues. It is involved in circadian rhythms.

[melanophore + G. tonos, contraction, + -in]

© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.