To characterize sleep and the 24-hour profiles of cortisol, prolactin (PRL), and growth hormone (GH) secretion in mania.
Blood was sampled at 15-minute intervals, and sleep was polygraphically recorded in eight unmedicated male patients with pure mania and the results compared with those from a group of 14 healthy age-matched controls. The circadian, sleep-related, and pulsatile hormonal variations were quantitatively characterized using specially designed computer algorithms.
The manic state was associated with alterations of corticotropic activity and circadian rhythmicity partially overlapping those previously observed in acute endogenous depression, consisting of an elevation of nocturnal cortisol levels and an early timing of the nadir of the circadian variation. Sleep onset was delayed and the sleep period was reduced. A trend for short rapid eye movement latencies was apparent in the adult patients. Both the amount and the temporal organization of PRL and GH secretion were normal.
The manic state seems to be characterized by similar but less severe neuroendocrine and circadian abnormalities, compared with major depression.