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J Pineal Res. 1988;5(3):317-22.

Influence of dexamethasone on nocturnal melatonin production in healthy adult subjects.

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Department of Psychiatry, Hospital of the J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt, FRG.


There is no conclusive evidence supporting an interaction between the pineal gland and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. In this study, 11 healthy adults (six women, five men; aged 18-47 years) received a placebo the first night and 1 mg dexamethasone the next night at either 1800 or 2300 h. Administration of 1 mg of dexamethasone was followed by an attenuation of the nocturnal production of melatonin in 9 of 11 subjects. A significant reduction was found between melatonin plasma levels before and after dexamethasone at 0400 h (P less than 0.01, t test for dependent groups). It is suggested that dexamethasone affects nocturnal production of melatonin by means of mechanisms within the pineal gland.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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