Disruption of melatonin circadian rhythm production is related to multiple sclerosis severity: A preliminary study.
J Neurol Sci. 2015 Jun 15 ;353(1-2):166-8. Epub 2015 Apr 7. PMID: 25930714
Sunlight can influence the immune system independently of vitamin D, such as through melatonin production in the pineal gland. Inflammatory disorders can suppress nocturnal melatonin production, but only a few studies have investigated melatonin status in multiple sclerosis (MS). We aimed to study melatonin production in association with clinical and immunological data in MS patients. Eleven treated relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) patients and eight controls underwent neurological examination and were assessed for fatigue severity and depressive symptoms. Inflammatory cytokines were analyzed in blood samples and concentration of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-SMT) was determined in 24h urine. Patients with an abnormal proportion of overnight 6-SMT (n=8, 72.7%) had higher disability and fatigue severity (p<0.05). Overnight 6-SMT was inversely related with fatigue severity (p=0.016), number of relapses in the previous 12 months (p=0.010) and EDSS scores (p=0.049). In conclusion, disruption of melatonin circadian rhythm production is frequent among RRMS patients and seemingly related to higher disability and fatigue scores. Future studies with larger sample size are necessary to establish melatonin status as a biomarker of disease severity in MS.