We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

Nocturnal Serum Melatonin Profile in Major Depression in Children and Adolescents

Mohammad Shafii, MD; Duncan R. MacMillan, MD; Mary P. Key, MS, MT; Ann McCue Derrick, RN, MS; Nancy Kaufman, MS; Irwin D. Nahinsky, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1996;53(11):1009-1013. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830110047006.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Background:  In major depression, biological rhythm disturbances in sleep, appetite, and mood suggest dysregulation in neuroendocrine functions, possibly in the pineal gland. In this study, pineal gland function was examined by measuring nocturnal serum melatonin levels during both wakefulness and sleep in depressed children and adolescents.

Methods:  Twenty-two youths aged 8 to 17 years primarily with major depression were compared with 19 controls. Blood samples were drawn every half hour from 6 PM to 7 AM. Nocturnal serum melatonin levels were measured by radioimmunoassay.

Results:  The overall nocturnal serum melatonin profile from 6 PM to 7 AM was significantly higher (mean±SD, 0.18±0.14nmol/L) in the depressed group than in the controls [mean±SD, 0.15±0.10 nmol/L, F(1,26)=4.37, P<.05]. In dim light, when the subjects were awake, no difference existed between the 2 groups. After lights-out, from 10 PM to 7 AM, the melatonin profile rose in both groups; however, the depressed group had a significantly higher increase (mean±SD,0.24±0.14nmol/L) than the controls [mean±SD,0.18±0.07nmol/L, F(1,26)=4.93, mean square error=0.11, P=.04]. Post hoc analysis showed a significantly higher melatonin profile in depressed subjects without psychosis (n=15) than in depressed subjects with psychosis (n=7) or in the controls.

Conclusions:  Measuring the overall nocturnal serum melatonin profile during darkness may help to differentiate children and adolescents with major depression without psychosis from those with psychosis and from controls.


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.