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Metabolism. 1993 Aug;42(8):1047-51.

Inhibition of melatonin secretion by ethanol in man.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden.


To determine whether ethanol inhibits nocturnal melatonin (MT) secretion, three experiments (A, B, and C) were performed in seven normal subjects. In A, ethanol at a dose of 0.34 g/kg was administered orally at 6:00, 8:00, and 10:00 PM. Each dose was increased to 0.52 g/kg in B. In C, water was substituted for ethanol. Blood samples for determination of serum MT levels were drawn every second hour between 6:00 PM and 8:00 AM. Urinary excretion of MT during the night was also determined. In A, serum ethanol reached a maximal level of 13 +/- 1 mmol/L at 12 midnight. In B, the corresponding maximum was 25 +/- 1 mmol/L. The higher alcohol dose inhibited nocturnal MT secretion by 20% +/- 5% (P < .01), whereas the lower dose lacked such effect. Urinary excretion of MT was left unaffected by alcohol at both doses. Five additional normal subjects were given alcohol as described above at a dose of 0.52 g/kg (experiment D). This induced mild nocturnal hypoglycemia as evidenced by a glucose decremental area (5.9 +/- 1.8 mmol/L.h) that differed significantly from zero (P < .05). To determine whether a reduced glucose delivery to pinealocytes might contribute to the decreased MT secretion in alcohol-intoxicated subjects, two experiments (E and F) were performed in eight healthy individuals. In E, ethanol was given orally as in B; three small oral doses of glucose were also given at 8:00 PM, 10:00 PM, and 12 midnight. In F, water was substituted for ethanol and glucose.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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