Journal of Neurology

, Volume 240, Issue 7, pp 410–416 | Cite as

Melatonin, cortisol and body temperature rhythms in Lennox-Gastaut patients with or without circadian rhythm sleep disorders

  • M. -L. Laakso
  • L. Leinonen
  • T. Hätönen
  • A. Alila
  • H. Heiskala
Original Communications


The daily rhythms of melatonin, cortisol and body temperature were studied in 16 institutionalized subjects with the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The results of 9 subjects with normal daily rhythms of sleep and wakefulness (group 1) were compared with those of 7 subjects with disordered sleep (group 2). Salivary samples were collected and axillary temperature was measured every 2 h during two or three separate 26-h periods. The hormones were measured by radioimmunoassays. The rhythms were characterized with single cosinor analysis. Two subjects in group 1 and six subjects in group 2 had abnormalities in their rhythms of temperature, cortisol or melatonin. All three rhythms were disrupted in two subjects of group 2. These two subjects were the only ones with disrupted cortisol rhythm. The diversity of rhythm pathologies suggested partly separate regulatory mechanisms for each rhythm. The co-occurrence of circadian rhythm sleep disorders with the deteriorated melatonin rhythm raised the question as to whether the sleep disorders of these subjects, like those of subjects with healthy brains, could be relieved by the induction of normal melatonin rhythm.

Key words

Circadian rhythms Pineal gland Adrenal gland Epilepsy Mental retardation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. -L. Laakso
    • 1
  • L. Leinonen
    • 1
  • T. Hätönen
    • 1
  • A. Alila
    • 1
  • H. Heiskala
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Rinnekoti Institution for Mentally RetardedEspooFinland

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