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PLoS One. 2016 Apr 4;11(4):e0152814. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152814. eCollection 2016.

Salivary Melatonin in Relation to Depressive Symptom Severity in Young Adults.

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Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Medical Sciences, Biochemical Endocrinology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


Reduced levels of melatonin have been associated with severe depression. The aim was to investigate the correlation between salivary melatonin and dimensional measures of depressive symptom severity in young adult psychiatric patients. Levels of melatonin were analyzed in six saliva samples during waking hours from 119 young adult patients under outpatient psychiatric care. Melatonin levels were tested for association with the severity of depressive symptoms using the self-rating version of the Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS-S). Where possible, depressive symptoms were assessed again after 6±2 months of treatment. Response was defined as decrease in MADRS-S by ≥50% between baseline and follow-up. Patients with levels of melatonin in the lowest quartile at bedtime had an increased probability of a high MADRS-S score compared to those with the highest levels of melatonin (odds ratio 1.39, 95% CI 1.15-1.69, p<0.01). A post hoc regression analysis found that bedtime melatonin levels predicted response (odds ratio 4.4, 95% CI 1.06-18.43, p<0.05). A negative relationship between salivary melatonin and dimensional measures of depressive symptom severity was found in young patients under outpatient psychiatric care. Bedtime salivary melatonin levels may have prognostic implications.

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