, Volume 263, Issue 3, pp 116-118

Melatonin in postmenopausal females

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 There is little information about the interaction between melatonin, sexual steroids and neuroendocrine system in postmenopausal females, even if former research showed that melatonin is clearly involved in human physiology and pathophysiology. We evaluated the overnight urinary excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-SMT) using a radioimmunoassay in 60 postmenopausal women. The group has been divided into patients with insomnia (10), hyperprolactinemia (7), depression (9), obesity (7) and controls (27). Compared to controls 6-SMT values were significantly higher in depressive females. Patients with hyperprolactinemia showed a trend toward a significantly elevated average nocturnal melatonin concentration. Melatonin levels were significantly lower in patients with insomnia and obese postmenopausal females than in controls. Since previus studies described lower melatonin levels in postmenopausal than in premenopausal women, the indication of melatonin-therapy, especially for sleep disorders in this collective, can be handled more generously. Melatonin should be prescribed restrictively in patients with depression and in those with hyperprolactinemia. The role of melatonin in obese females remains unclear.

Received: 22 July 1999 / Accepted: 12 August 1999