Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is the main cause of long-term neurodevelopmental morbidity in term born infants worldwide. Melatonin is a hormone with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that make it a promising molecule for the treatment of perinatal asphyxia. Probably, the synergistic use of hypothermia associated with melatonin treatment may improve the neurological outcome in infants with HIE. In the past 20 years, the efficacy of melatonin in reducing oxidative stress has been demonstrated in animals; however, clinical trials with sufficient sample size of newborns are lacking to date.Since in 2000 we were among the first to study the neuroprotective properties of melatonin on infants, in this review, we want to summarize the advantages and limitations of the investigations conducted to date. KEY POINTS: · HIE is the main cause of morbidity in term born infants worldwide.. · Melatonin is a promising molecule for the treatment of perinatal asphyxia.. · This review summarizes advantages and limitations of the investigations conducted on melatonin..Thieme. All rights reserved.