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NEUROENDOCRINOLOGY LETTERS
including Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuropsychopharmacology,
Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology
and Human Ethology, ISSN 0172–780X

NEL Vol.24 Nos.3/4, Jun-Aug 2003

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Reduction of night/day difference in melatonin blood levels as a possible disease-related index in schizophrenia

2003; 24:181184
pii: NEL243403A05
PMID: 14523354

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Reduction of night/day difference in melatonin blood levels as a possible disease-related index in schizophrenia

Giuseppe Bersani, Monica Mameli, Alessandra Garavini, Paolo Pancheri & *Maurizio Nordio

3rd Psychiatric Clinic, Department of Psychiatric Sciences and Psychological Medicine, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy.
* Department of Medical Physiopathology, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy.

Submitted: November 11, 2002
Accepted: December 16, 2002

Key words:
melatonin, schizophrenia, circadian rhythm, psychopathology, index

Abstract

objective: Aim of this study was to verify if a simple index as night-day plasma MLT level variation is able to confirm the existing data on circadian melatonin alterations in schizophrenia and if a relationship to disease itself instead of the actual clinical state can be suggested.

setting and design: Ten consecutively admitted male schizophrenic inpatients were examined.
methods: The blood samples for melatonin were collected at 3.00 a.m. and 15.00 p.m. and consequently calculated the values of Delta () (MLT h.3.00– MLT h.15.00). We divided the sample into two subgroups: < 30 pg/ml and > 30 pg/ml taking 30 pg/ml as an arbitrary value, based on literature data, that should indicate a physiologically correct value of .

results: The 70% of the sample was under the 30 pg/ml value of (13.61 ± 4.0) or was lacking of the characteristic circadian pattern of MLT secretion, whilst the 30% of the sample was over the 30 pg/ml value of (83.60 ± 16.34) or was in presence of the characteristic circadian pattern of MLT secretion (p=.0001). No correlation was found between values and the scale and subscales scores for the assessment of psychopathology.

main findings: The data confirm the lack of the characteristic circadian pattern of MLT secretion in schizophrenics.

conclusion: The absence of significant correlation between night / day melatonin level differences and actual psychopathology variables should indicate that the suppression of is mostly related to the disease and independent from the clinical state. A neuroleptic-treatment effect cannot be excluded so far.

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Society of Integrated Sciences
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