Fibromyalgia--a syndrome associated with decreased nocturnal melatonin secretion.Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 1998; 49(2):179-83CE
Most patients with fibromyalgic syndrome (FMS) complain of sleep disturbances, fatigue, and pain. These symptoms might be a consequence of changed melatonin (MT) secretion, since MT is known to have sleep promoting properties. Moreover, serum concentrations of two MT precursors (tryptophan and serotonin)--affecting both sleep and pain perception--appear to be low in patients with FMS. Therefore, the objective of this investigation was to study whether serum MT (s-MT) level is also low in these patients.
Eight patients with FMS and 8 healthy sex-, BMI-, and age-matched controls were included in the study. s-MT concentrations were determined every second hour between 1800 and 0800 h. Urine was collected between 2200 and 0700 h for determination of urinary MT excretion. To evaluate total MT secretion between 1800 and 0800 h and MT secretion during the hours of darkness (between 23 and 07 h) individual MT areas under the curve (AUC) were calculated and expressed as group means.
The FMS patients had a 31% lower MT secretion than healthy subjects during the hours of darkness (MT AUC 2300-0700 h (mean +/- SEM): 1.70 +/- 0.17 vs 2.48 +/- 0.38 nmol/l; P < 0.05). Also the s-MT peak value was significantly lower in the patient group: 0.28 +/- 0.03 vs 0.44 +/- 0.06 nmol/l; P < 0.05).
Patients with fibromyalgic syndrome have a lower melatonin secretion during the hours of darkness than healthy subjects. This may contribute to impaired sleep at night, fatigue during the day, and changed pain perception.