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Melatonin levels in women with fibromyalgia (FM) & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 11 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • December 5, 1999


OBJECTIVE: Fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome
(CFS) are stress associated disorders mainly affecting women.
FM is characterized primarily by widespread musculoskeletal
pain, and CFS by profound debilitating fatigue, but there is
considerable overlap of clinical symptoms between these 2
syndromes. Neuroendocrine abnormalities have been noted in
both FM and CFS and desynchronization of circadian systems has
been postulated in their etiology. The pineal hormone
melatonin is involved in synchronizing circadian systems and
the use of exogenous melatonin has become widespread in
patients with FM and CFS.

METHODS: We examined the
characteristics and relationship of melatonin and cortisol
levels in premenopausal women with FM (n = 9) or CFS (n = 8),
compared to age and menstrual cycle phase matched controls.
Blood was collected from an indwelling intravenous catheter
every 10 min over 24 h, and plasma melatonin and cortisol were
determined by radioimmunoassay at 60 and 10 min intervals,
respectively.

RESULTS: Night time (23:00-06:50) plasma
melatonin levels were significantly higher in FM patients
compared to controls (p<0.05), but there was no significant
difference in melatonin levels between CFS patients and
controls. No differences in the timing of cortisol and
melatonin secretory patterns and no internal desynchronization
of the 2 rhythms were found in either patient group, compared
to controls.

CONCLUSION: Raised plasma melatonin
concentrations have been documented in several other
conditions that are associated with dysregulation of
neuroendocrine axes. Increased melatonin levels may represent
a marker of increased susceptibility to stress induced
hypothalamic disruptions. These data indicate that there is no
rationale for melatonin replacement therapy in patients with
FM and CFS.

Korszun A, Sackett-Lundeen L, Papadopoulos E, Brucksch C, Masterson
L, Engelberg NC, Haus E, Demitrack MA, Crofford L




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