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Chronobiol Int. 2006;23(4):889-901.

Increased REM sleep associated with melatonin deficiency after pinealectomy: a case study.

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Explorations Fonctionnelles et Consultations Neurologiques, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, Pierre-BĂ©nite cedex, France.


The objectives of the investigation were to assess hypersomnia, which progressively appeared in a young patient after a pinealectomy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy for a typical germinoma, as well as the potential benefit of melatonin administration in the absence of its endogenous secretion. 24 h ambulatory polysomnography and the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) were performed; in addition, daily plasma melatonin, cortisol, growth hormone, prolactin, and rectal temperature profiles were determined before and during melatonin treatment (one 2 mg capsule given nightly at 21:00 h for 4 weeks). MSLT showed abnormal sleep latency and two REM sleep onsets. Nighttime total sleep duration was lengthened, mainly as a consequence of an increased REM sleep duration. These parameters were slightly modified by melatonin replacement. Plasma melatonin levels, which were constantly nil in the basal condition, were increased to supraphysiological values with melatonin treatment. The plasma cortisol profile showed nycthemeral variation within the normal range, and the growth hormone profile showed supplementary diurnal peaks. Melatonin treatment did not modify the secretion of either hormone. The plasma prolactin profile did not display a physiological nocturnal increase in the basal condition; however, it did during melatonin treatment, with the rise coinciding with the nocturnal peak of melatonin concentration. A 24 h temperature rhythm of normal amplitude was persistent, though the mean level was decreased and the rhythm was dampened during melatonin treatment. The role of radiotherapy on the studied parameters cannot be excluded; the findings of this case study suggest that the observed hypersomnia is not the result of melatonin deficiency alone. Overall, melatonin treatment was well tolerated, but the benefit on the sleep abnormality, especially on daytime REM sleep, was minor, requiring the re-introduction of modafinil treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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