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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1987 Apr;64(4):865-7.

Melatonin in human preovulatory follicular fluid.


Melatonin, the major hormone of the pineal gland, has antigonadotrophic activity in many mammals and may also be involved in human reproduction. Melatonin suppresses steroidogenesis by ovarian granulosa and luteal cells in vitro. To determine if melatonin is present in the human ovary, preovulatory follicular fluids (n = 32) from 15 women were assayed for melatonin by RIA after solvent extraction. The fluids were obtained by laparoscopy or sonographically controlled follicular puncture from infertile women undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. All patients had received clomiphene citrate, human menopausal gonadotropin, and hCH to stimulate follicle formation. Blood samples were obtained by venipuncture 30 min or less after follicular aspiration. All of the follicular fluids contained melatonin, in concentrations [36.5 +/- 4.8 (+/- SEM) pg/mL] substantially higher than those in the corresponding serum (10.0 +/- 1.4 pg/mL). A positive correlation was found between follicular fluid and serum melatonin levels in each woman (r = 0.770; P less than 0.001). These observations indicate that preovulatory follicles contain substantial amounts of melatonin that may affect ovarian steroidogenesis.

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