Document Detail

Factors influencing the development of melatonin rhythmicity in humans.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8636362     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The emergence of melatonin rhythmicity was studied in 163 infants between 46-55 weeks postconception by monitoring the excretion of the urinary melatonin metabolite 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT.6S). From this population, we examined the effects of gender, season, multiple birth, home birth, previous sudden infant death syndrome in the family, premature labor, spontaneous rupture of membranes, preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, and nursery lighting on pineal rhythmicity. As previously reported, rhythmic excretion of aMT.6S appeared between 49-55 weeks postconception (9-15 weeks of age) in singleton babies born at term in the hospital. Full-term infants who had a sibling die of sudden infant death syndrome had a pattern of melatonin rhythm development no different from that of the control full-term infants. In contrast, full-term infants born at home and full-term twins born in the hospital had significantly lower aMT.6S excretion than hospital-born singleton infants at the same ages despite similar body weights (e.g. at 52 weeks postconception; 1.8 +/- 0.4, 1.1 +/- 0.3, and 3.6 +/ -0.5 nmol/day, respectively). In full-term infants, there was no difference in the development of melatonin rhythmicity between the sexes, with season or method of delivery (vaginal vs. caesarean). The premature infants were divided into 5 groups (babies born after premature labor, premature rupture of membranes, preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, and fetal distress). All premature infants had a delay in the appearance of aMT.6S rhythms in the urine in relation to chronological age. When the infants were compared on the basis of weeks since conception, those infants born after spontaneous premature labor excreted amounts of aMT.6S no different from those of full-term singleton infants during the period of study. In contrast, the premature rupture of membranes, preeclampsia, and fetal distressed infants excreted 50% less aMT.6S, and intrauterine growth restricted infants excreted 67% less at the same postconceptional ages. These differences were due to reduced nocturnal excretion of the metabolite. In an attempt to accelerate the development of melatonin rhythmicity, premature labor and premature rupture of membranes infants were randomly assigned to be totally deprived of light (using phototherapy eye shields) or partially deprived of light by moving them to a dimly lit room each night for the last 3-8 weeks of their stay in the hospital nursery. Babies born after premature labor produced normal amounts of aMT.6S between 46-52 weeks postconception, and this pattern was not affected by the nocturnal light deprivation. Infants born after premature rupture of membranes and totally deprived of light at night had aMT.6S excretion rhythms at 52 weeks postconception no different from those of full-term hospital-born infants or premature labor infants, whereas those in infants placed in dim light were similar to those in untreated premature rupture of membranes infants. These results suggest that premature birth alone is not the sole cause of altered rhythm development; other factors, such as preeclampsia, growth restriction, and nursery lighting, play an important role. The consequences of the delayed appearance of melatonin in infants are not known, but deserve further study.
D J Kennaway; F C Goble; G E Stamp
Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism     Volume:  81     ISSN:  0021-972X     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab.     Publication Date:  1996 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-07-11     Completed Date:  1996-07-11     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0375362     Medline TA:  J Clin Endocrinol Metab     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1525-32     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Adelaide, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Birth Weight
Cesarean Section
Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology,  urine
Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture
Infant, Newborn / physiology*,  urine
Infant, Premature / physiology*,  urine
Melatonin / secretion*,  urine
Obstetric Labor, Premature
Reference Values
Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / physiopathology,  urine
Reg. No./Substance:

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