Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 10, pp 2525–2535 | Cite as

Melatonin in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Endogenous and Pharmacokinetic Profiles in Relation to Sleep

  • Suzanne E. Goldman
  • Karen W. Adkins
  • M. Wade Calcutt
  • Melissa D. Carter
  • Robert L. Goodpaster
  • Lily Wang
  • Yaping Shi
  • Helen J. Burgess
  • David L. Hachey
  • Beth A. MalowEmail author
Original Paper


Supplemental melatonin has been used to treat sleep onset insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), although the mechanism of action is uncertain. We assessed endogenous and supplemental melatonin profiles in relation to sleep in nine children with ASD. In endogenous samples, maximal melatonin concentration (C max) and time to peak concentration (T max) were comparable to those previously published in the literature for typically developing children, and dim light melatonin onsets were captured in the majority of children. In treatment samples (supplemental melatonin), melatonin parameters were also comparable to those previously published for typically developing children. Our findings support that children with ASD and insomnia responsive to low dose melatonin treatment have relatively normal profiles of endogenous and supplemental melatonin.


Insomnia N-acetylserotonin Dim light melatonin onset 



This work was supported by NICHD (RO1 HD59253), Vanderbilt General Clinical Research Center (M01 RR-00095 from the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health), and by the Vanderbilt University Kennedy Center (NICHD HD15052). Natrol® (Chatsworth, CA, USA), provided study drug but no other support. We acknowledge Ms. Kyla Surdyka and Ms. Meg Touvelle for their assistance with data entry and Dr. Susan McGrew for her assistance with medical evaluations. We are appreciative to the families who participated in this project.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10803_2014_2123_MOESM1_ESM.doc (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 62 kb)
10803_2014_2123_MOESM2_ESM.doc (48 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 48 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne E. Goldman
    • 1
  • Karen W. Adkins
    • 1
  • M. Wade Calcutt
    • 2
    • 3
  • Melissa D. Carter
    • 2
    • 3
  • Robert L. Goodpaster
    • 1
  • Lily Wang
    • 4
  • Yaping Shi
    • 4
  • Helen J. Burgess
    • 5
  • David L. Hachey
    • 3
    • 6
  • Beth A. Malow
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics Burry Chair in Cognitive Childhood Development, Sleep Disorders DivisionVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Mass Spectrometry Research CenterVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiostatisticsVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  5. 5.Department of Behavioral SciencesRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Department of PharmacologyVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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