In order to determine whether the human pattern of circulating melatonin resembles that previously described in lower animals, men 19-32 years old were exposed to a light-dark cycle with 14 hours of light per day (L:D 14:10). In whites and blacks, nocturnal (dark phase, sleeping) melatonin levels were almost always elevated to 0.05-0.1 ng/ml plasma compared with lower or undetectable levels during the day, measured by the tadpole bioassay. Thin-layer migration of bioactive material was identical to that for melatonin standard. A rhythm with nocturnal elevation of urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) was observed. Nocturnal (sleep phase) rise in blood melatonin (but not urinary 5-HIAA) continued during 2½ daynight cycle lengths after the onset of constant light. Though the dark phase plasma melatonin rise was less marked after reversal of the sleep-wake cycle (no change in the light cycle), dark phase rise in urinary 5-HIAA continued. Though marked cardiovascular and other effects were produced by intravenous isoproterenol or scopolamine, no definite effect on melatonin levels was observed after either drug during the light phase in waking subjects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical