Decreased melatonin levels in postmortem cerebrospinal fluid in relation to aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and apolipoprotein E-ε4/4 genotype
ABSTRACT Sleep disruption, nightly restlessness, sundowning, and other circadian disturbances are frequently seen in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Changes in the suprachiasmatic nucleus and pineal gland are thought to be the biological basis for these behavioral disturbances. Melatonin is the main endocrine message for circadian rhythmicity from the pineal. To determine whether melatonin production was affected in AD, melatonin levels were determined in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 85 patients with AD (mean age, 75 +/- 1.1 yr) and in 82 age-matched controls (mean age, 76 +/- 1.4 yr). Ventricular postmortem CSF was collected from clinically and neuropathologically well defined AD patients and from control subjects without primary neurological or psychiatric disease. In old control subjects (>80 yr of age), CSF melatonin levels were half of those in control subjects of 41-80 yr of age [176 +/- 58 (n = 29) and 330 +/- 66 (n = 53) pg/mL, respectively; P = 0.016]. We did not find a diurnal rhythm in CSF melatonin levels in control subjects. In AD patients the CSF melatonin levels were only one fifth (55 +/- 7 pg/mL) of those in control subjects (273 +/- 47 pg/mL; P = 0.0001). There was no difference in the CSF melatonin levels between the presenile (42 +/- 11 pg/mL; n = 21) and the senile (59 +/- 8 pg/mL; n = 64; P = 0.35) AD patients. The melatonin level in AD patients expressing apolipoprotein E-epsilon3/4 (71 +/- 11 pg/mL) was significantly higher than that in patients expressing apolipoprotein E-epsilon4/4 (32 +/- 8 pg/ml; P = 0.02). In the AD patients no significant correlation was observed between age of onset or duration of AD and CSF melatonin levels. In the present study, a dramatic decrease in the CSF melatonin levels was found in old control subjects and even more so in AD patients. Whether supplementation of melatonin may indeed improve behavioral disturbances in AD patients should be investigated.
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ABSTRACT: Background: While it is evident that Alzheimer's disease is associated with disturbed sleep and circadian rhythms, the extent to which such changes are evident in older people 'at risk' of developing dementia is unknown. Objective: In this study, we aimed to determine whether patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) demonstrated significant alterations in the timing of melatonin secretion onset and amount, as well as sleep architecture. Methods: Thirty patients with MCI and 28 age-matched controls underwent psychiatric, medical, and neuropsychological assessment, followed by overnight polysomnography and dim light melatonin onset assessment. Participants also performed an episodic memory task while in the laboratory. Dim light melatonin onset was computed using a standardized algorithm, and area under the curve was computed for melatonin secretion. Sleep architecture measures including wake after sleep onset and latency to rapid eye movement sleep were derived. Results: Patients with MCI had advanced timing of their melatonin secretion onset relative to controls, but the levels of melatonin secreted did not differ between groups. The MCI group also had greater wake after sleep onset and increased rapid eye movement sleep latency. There were differential associations between dim light melatonin onset and cognition between the two groups, with earlier dim light melatonin onset being associated with poorer memory performance in MCI patients. Conclusion: Circadian misalignment and sleep disruption is evident in patients with MCI, and is consistent with changes observed in Alzheimer's disease. Such findings could be a marker for disease trajectory, and may even be implicated in disease pathogenesis.Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 10/2013; 38(4). DOI:10.3233/JAD-131217 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Melatonin is a pleiotropically acting regulator molecule, which influences numerous physiological functions. Its secretion by the pineal gland progressively declines by age. Strong reductions of circulating melatonin are also observed in numerous disorders and diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, various other neurological and stressful conditions, pain, cardiovascular diseases, cases of cancer, endocrine and metabolic disorders, in particular diabetes type 2. The significance of melatonergic signaling is also evident from melatonin receptor polymorphisms associated with several of these pathologies. The article outlines the mutual relationship between circadian oscillators and melatonin secretion, the possibilities for readjustment of rhythms by melatonin and its synthetic analogs, the consequences for circadian rhythm-dependent disorders concerning sleep and mood, and limits of treatment. The necessity of distinguishing between short-acting melatonergic effects, which are successful in sleep initiation and phase adjustments, and attempts of replacement strategies is emphasized. Properties of approved and some investigational melatonergic agonists are compared.04/2012; 3(2):194-225.