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Acta Derm Venereol. 1988;68(4):312-6.

Plasma melatonin levels in psoriasis.

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  • 1Second Department of Dermatology, University of Milan, Italy.


Melatonin is synthesized and secreted by the pineal gland. A daily rhythm of melatonin secretion, with high plasma values during the dark period, has been found in all vertebrates studied so far. In psoriatics, several hormones, including GH and prolactin, have altered chronobiology, and some studies in humans suggest that melatonin affects the levels of GH and prolactin. We investigated circadian melatonin rhythm in 13 male psoriatics and 13 healthy males with an RIA specific for measuring the hormone in plasma. Samples were taken at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 12.00, 4 p.m., 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. Differences in (mean +/- SD) plasma melatonin levels were analysed by Student's t-test. Our results show that psoriatic patients had lost the nocturnal peak and usual circadian rhythm of melatonin secretion. Levels of melatonin were significantly lower than in controls at 2 a.m., and higher at 6 and 8 a.m. and at 12 noon. Further investigations of this disorder of melatonin secretion in psoriasis are needed to understand its significance.

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