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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Sep;17(7):291-8. Epub 2006 Aug 4.

Inverted rhythm of melatonin secretion in Smith-Magenis syndrome: from symptoms to treatment.

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Department of Genetics, Robert Debré Hospital, 48 boulevard Sérurier, 75019 Paris, France.


Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) is a mental retardation syndrome with distinctive behavioral characteristics, dysmorphic features and congenital anomalies ascribed to an interstitial deletion of chromosome 17p11.2. Severe sleep disturbances and maladaptative daytime behavior have been linked to an abnormal circadian secretion pattern of melatonin, with a diurnal instead of nocturnal secretion of this hormone. SMS provides a demonstration of a biological basis for sleep disorder in a genetic disease. Considering that clock genes mediate the generation of the circadian rhythm, haploinsufficiency for a circadian system gene, mapping to chromosome 17p11.2 might cause the inversion of the melatonin circadian rhythm in SMS. The disorder of circadian timing in SMS might also affect the entrainment pathway (retinohypothalamic tract), pacemaker functions (suprachiasmatic nucleus) or synthesis and release of melatonin by the pineal gland. Elucidating pathophysiological mechanisms of behavioral phenotypes in genetic disease can provide an original therapeutic approach in SMS: blockade of endogenous melatonin production during the day combined with exogenous melatonin administration in the evening.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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