Evidence for an association of serum melatonin concentrations with recognition and circadian preferences in patients with schizophrenia

Cigdem Sahbaz*, Omer Faruk Ozer, Ayse Kurtulmus, Ismet Kirpinar, Fikrettin Sahin, Sinan Guloksuz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Melatonin, a neuro-differentiation factor, may play a role in the neurodevelopmental origins of schizophrenia. Cognitive impairment and decreased melatonin are reported in schizophrenia; however, the relationship between them remains unclear. We hypothesised that patients with schizophrenia would have lower concentrations of circulating melatonin than healthy controls and that melatonin levels would be associated with cognitive impairment. This study included 47 patients with schizophrenia and 40 healthy controls (HC). Serum melatonin concentrations were measured using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Positive and Negative Syndrome Scales (PANSS), The Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Stroop and Oktem verbal memory processes (VMPT) tests were applied. Patients with schizophrenia had lower levels of melatonin compared to the HC group (p=0.016), also after controlling for age, sex, and body mass index (BMI) (p=0.024). In patients with schizophrenia, melatonin concentrations were associated with higher BMI (rho=0.34, p=0.01) and lower MEQ score (rho=-0.29, p=0.035). The patient sample was split into low and high melatonin categories by using the median melatonin concentration in HC as the cut-off. Patients in the low melatonin group had poorer performance in VMPT-Recognition (p=0.026) and Stroop-Colour Error (p=0.032). Notwithstanding its limitations, the findings of this exploratory study suggest that decreased serum melatonin concentrations observed in schizophrenia might also be associated with cognitive impairment and circadian preferences. Future studies are required to investigate the role of melatonergic pathways in patients with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-874
Number of pages10
JournalMetabolic Brain Disease
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Psychosis
  • Melatonin
  • Cognition
  • Verbal memory
  • Metabolic disturbance
  • Circadian preferences
  • VISCERAL FAT DISTRIBUTION
  • DRUG-FREE
  • DOUBLE-BLIND
  • PINEAL VOLUME
  • SLEEP
  • PROFILES
  • INSOMNIA
  • RHYTHM
  • NAIVE
  • AGOMELATINE

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