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1.  Association of Per3 length polymorphism with bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia 
Sleep–wake disturbances have frequently been reported in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and are considered to be caused by an underlying circadian rhythm disorder. The study presented here was designed to investigate the existence of Per3 polymorphism in bipolar disorder type I (BD-I) and schizophrenic patients in South India.
Blood samples were collected from 311 BD-I patients, 293 schizophrenia patients, and 346 age- and sex-matched normal controls. Per3 genotyping was performed on DNA by polymerase chain reaction using specific primers.
An increased prevalence of five repeat homozygotes was seen in BD-I patients as compared with healthy controls (odds ratio =1.72 [95% confidence interval: 1.08–2.76, P=0.02]). In BD-I patients, the frequency of the five repeat allele was higher (allele frequency =0.41), and that of the four repeat allele lower (allele frequency =0.36) (χ2=4.634; P<0.03) than in the control group. No significant association was observed in the allele frequencies of four and five repeat alleles in schizophrenia patients when compared with controls.
The occurrence of the five repeat allele of Per3 may be a risk factor for BD-I onset in this ethnic group.
PMCID: PMC4267513  PMID: 25525361
circadian rhythms; clock genes; Per3 polymorphism; bipolar disorder; schizophrenia
2.  Melatonin in Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Related Disorders 
Mitochondrial dysfunction is considered one of the major causative factors in the aging process, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R), septic shock, and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Huntington's disease (HD). Increased free radical generation, enhanced mitochondrial inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase activity, enhanced NO production, decreased respiratory complex activity, impaired electron transport system, and opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pore all have been suggested as factors responsible for impaired mitochondrial function. Melatonin, the major hormone of the pineal gland, also acts as an antioxidant and as a regulator of mitochondrial bioenergetic function. Both in vitro and in vivo, melatonin was effective for preventing oxidative stress/nitrosative stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction seen in experimental models of PD, AD, and HD. In addition, melatonin is known to retard aging and to inhibit the lethal effects of septic shock or I/R lesions by maintaining respiratory complex activities, electron transport chain, and ATP production in mitochondria. Melatonin is selectively taken up by mitochondrial membranes, a function not shared by other antioxidants. Melatonin has thus emerged as a major potential therapeutic tool for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as PD or AD, and for preventing the lethal effects of septic shock or I/R.
PMCID: PMC3100547  PMID: 21629741
3.  Cadmium-Induced Disruption in 24-h Expression of Clock and Redox Enzyme Genes in Rat Medial Basal Hypothalamus: Prevention by Melatonin 
In a previous study we reported that a low daily p.o. dose of cadmium (Cd) disrupted the circadian expression of clock and redox enzyme genes in rat medial basal hypothalamus (MBH). To assess whether melatonin could counteract Cd activity, male Wistar rats (45 days of age) received CdCl2 (5 ppm) and melatonin (3 μg/mL) or vehicle (0.015% ethanol) in drinking water. Groups of animals receiving melatonin or vehicle alone were also included. After 1 month, MBH mRNA levels were measured by real-time PCR analysis at six time intervals in a 24-h cycle. In control MBH Bmal1 expression peaked at early scotophase, Per1 expression at late afternoon, and Per2 and Cry2 expression at mid-scotophase, whereas neither Clock nor Cry1 expression showed significant 24-h variations. This pattern was significantly disrupted (Clock, Bmal1) or changed in phase (Per1, Per2, Cry2) by CdCl2 while melatonin counteracted the changes brought about by Cd on Per1 expression only. In animals receiving melatonin alone the 24-h pattern of MBH Per2 and Cry2 expression was disrupted. CdCl2 disrupted the 24-h rhythmicity of Cu/Zn- and Mn-superoxide dismutase (SOD), nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-1, NOS-2, heme oxygenase (HO)-1, and HO-2 gene expression, most of the effects being counteracted by melatonin. In particular, the co-administration of melatonin and CdCl2 increased Cu/Zn-SOD gene expression and decreased that of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GSR), and HO-2. In animals receiving melatonin alone, significant increases in mean Cu/Zn and Mn-SOD gene expression, and decreases in that of GPx, GSR, NOS-1, NOS-2, HO-1, and HO-2, were found. The results indicate that the interfering effect of melatonin on the activity of a low dose of CdCl2 on MBH clock and redox enzyme genes is mainly exerted at the level of redox enzyme gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3062465  PMID: 21442002
cadmium; melatonin; circadian rhythms; clock genes; redox enzyme genes; medial basal hypothalamus
4.  Melatonin and Its Agonist Ramelteon in Alzheimer's Disease: Possible Therapeutic Value 
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an age-associated neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of cognitive function, loss of memory and insomnia, and abnormal behavioral signs and symptoms. Among the various theories that have been put forth to explain the pathophysiology of AD, the oxidative stress induced by amyloid β-protein (Aβ) deposition has received great attention. Studies undertaken on postmortem brain samples of AD patients have consistently shown extensive lipid, protein, and DNA oxidation. Presence of abnormal tau protein, mitochondrial dysfunction, and protein hyperphosphorylation all have been demonstrated in neural tissues of AD patients. Moreover, AD patients exhibit severe sleep/wake disturbances and insomnia and these are associated with more rapid cognitive decline and memory impairment. On this basis, the successful management of AD patients requires an ideal drug that besides antagonizing Aβ-induced neurotoxicity could also correct the disturbed sleep-wake rhythm and improve sleep quality. Melatonin is an effective chronobiotic agent and has significant neuroprotective properties preventing Aβ-induced neurotoxic effects in a number of animal experimental models. Since melatonin levels in AD patients are greatly reduced, melatonin replacement has the potential value to be used as a therapeutic agent for treating AD, particularly at the early phases of the disease and especially in those in whom the relevant melatonin receptors are intact. As sleep deprivation has been shown to produce oxidative damage, impaired mitochondrial function, neurodegenerative inflammation, and altered proteosomal processing with abnormal activation of enzymes, treatment of sleep disturbances may be a priority for arresting the progression of AD. In this context the newly introduced melatonin agonist ramelteon can be of much therapeutic value because of its highly selective action on melatonin MT1/MT2 receptors in promoting sleep.
PMCID: PMC3004402  PMID: 21197086
5.  Melatonin Therapy in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease 
Antioxidants  2014;3(2):245-277.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a major health problem and a growing recognition exists that efforts to prevent it must be undertaken by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. In this context, the pineal product, melatonin, has a promising significance because of its chronobiotic/cytoprotective properties potentially useful for a number of aspects of AD. One of the features of advancing age is the gradual decrease in circulating melatonin levels. A limited number of therapeutic trials have indicated that melatonin has a therapeutic value as a neuroprotective drug in the treatment of AD and minimal cognitive impairment (which may evolve to AD). Both in vitro and in vivo, melatonin prevented the neurodegeneration seen in experimental models of AD. For these effects to occur, doses of melatonin about two orders of magnitude higher than those required to affect sleep and circadian rhythmicity are needed. More recently, attention has been focused on the development of potent melatonin analogs with prolonged effects, which were employed in clinical trials in sleep-disturbed or depressed patients in doses considerably higher than those employed for melatonin. In view that the relative potencies of the analogs are higher than that of the natural compound, clinical trials employing melatonin in the range of 50–100 mg/day are urgently needed to assess its therapeutic validity in neurodegenerative disorders such as AD.
PMCID: PMC4665493  PMID: 26784870
melatonin; Alzheimer’s disease; neurodegeneration; free radicals; oxidative stress; aging; mild cognitive impairment; melatonin analogs
6.  Melatonin May Curtail the Metabolic Syndrome: Studies on Initial and Fully Established Fructose-Induced Metabolic Syndrome in Rats 
To examine the effect of melatonin given to rats simultaneously with fructose on initial and fully developed metabolic syndrome, male Wistar rats had free access to chow and 5% or 10% fructose drinking solution for 8 weeks. As compared to controls, systolic blood pressure augmented significantly under both treatments whereas excessive body weight was seen in rats receiving the 10% fructose only. Rats drinking 5% fructose showed a greater tolerance to a glucose load while rats having access to a 10% fructose drinking solution exhibited the expected impaired glucose tolerance found in the metabolic syndrome. Circulating triglyceride and low density lipoproteins-cholesterol (LDL-c) concentration augmented significantly in rats showing a fully developed metabolic syndrome only, while high blood cholesterol levels were found at both stages examined. Melatonin (25 μg/mL drinking solution) counteracted the changes in body weight and systolic blood pressure found in rats administered with fructose. Melatonin decreased the abnormal hyperglycemia seen after a glucose load in 10% fructose-treated rats but it did not modify the greater tolerance to glucose observed in animals drinking 5% fructose. Melatonin also counteracted the changes in plasma LDL-c, triglyceride and cholesterol levels and decreased plasma uric acid levels. The results underline a possible therapeutical role of melatonin in the metabolic syndrome, both at initial and established phases.
PMCID: PMC3587998  PMID: 23354480
metabolic syndrome; melatonin; fructose; dyslipidemia; hypertension; obesity; glucose tolerance
7.  Therapeutic application of melatonin in mild cognitive impairment 
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an etiologically heterogeneous syndrome defined by cognitive impairment in advance of dementia. We previously reported in a retrospective analysis that daily 3 - 9 mg of a fast-release melatonin preparation given p. o. at bedtime for up to 3 years significantly improved cognitive and emotional performance and daily sleep/wake cycle in MCI patients. In a follow up of that study we now report data from another series of 96 MCI outpatients, 61 of who had received daily 3 - 24 mg of a fast-release melatonin preparation p. o. at bedtime for 15 to 60 months. Melatonin was given in addition to the standard medication prescribed by the attending psychiatrist. Patients treated with melatonin exhibited significantly better performance in Mini–Mental State Examination and the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer’s disease Assessment Scale. After application of a neuropsychological battery comprising a Mattis´ test, Digit-symbol test, Trail A and B tasks and the Rey´s verbal test, better performance was found in melatonin-treated patients for every parameter tested. Abnormally high Beck Depression Inventory scores decreased in melatonin-treated patients, concomitantly with the improvement in the quality of sleep and wakefulness. The comparison of the medication profile in both groups of MCI patients indicated that 9.8% in the melatonin group received benzodiazepines vs. 62.8% in the non-melatonin group. The results further support that melatonin can be a useful add-on drug for treating MCI in a clinic environment.
PMCID: PMC3560473  PMID: 23383398
Mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer´s disease; melatonin; benzodiazepines; neuropsychological tests; retrospective study
8.  Therapeutic potential of melatonin and its analogs in Parkinson’s disease: focus on sleep and neuroprotection 
Sleep disorders constitute major nonmotor features of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that have a substantial effect on patients’ quality of life and can be related to the progression of the neurodegenerative disease. They can also serve as preclinical markers for PD, as it is the case for rapid eye movement (REM)-associated sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Although the etiology of sleep disorders in PD remains undefined, the assessment of the components of the circadian system, including melatonin secretion, could give therapeutically valuable insight on their pathophysiopathology. Melatonin is a regulator of the sleep/wake cycle and also acts as an effective antioxidant and mitochondrial function protector. A reduction in the expression of melatonin MT1 and MT2 receptors has been documented in the substantia nigra of PD patients. The efficacy of melatonin for preventing neuronal cell death and for ameliorating PD symptoms has been demonstrated in animal models of PD employing neurotoxins. A small number of controlled trials indicate that melatonin is useful in treating disturbed sleep in PD, in particular RBD. Whether melatonin and the recently developed melatonergic agents (ramelteon, tasimelteon, agomelatine) have therapeutic potential in PD is also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3187674  PMID: 22010042
agomelatine; insomnia; light therapy; melatonin; oxidative stress; Parkinson’s disease; ramelteon; REM sleep behavior disorder; tasimelteon
9.  Nonmotor Symptoms Groups in Parkinson's Disease Patients: Results of a Pilot, Exploratory Study 
Parkinson's Disease  2011;2011:473579.
Nonmotor symptoms (NMS) like neuropsychiatric symptoms, sleep disturbances or autonomic symptoms are a common feature of Parkinson's disease (PD). To explore the existence of groups of NMS and to relate them to PD characteristics, 71 idiopathic non-demented PD out-patients were recruited. Sleep was evaluated by the PD Sleep Scale (PDSS). Several neuropsychiatric, gastrointestinal and urogenital symptoms were obtained from the NMSQuest. Sialorrhea or dysphagia severity was obtained from the Unified PD Rating Scale activities of daily living section. MADRS depression scale was also administered. Exploratory factor analysis revealed the presence of 5 factors, explaining 70% of variance. The first factor included PDSS measurement of sleep quality, nocturnal restlessness, off-related problems and daytime somnolence; the second factor included nocturia (PDSS) and nocturnal activity; the third one included gastrointestinal and genitourinary symptoms; the forth one included nocturnal psychosis (PDSS), sialorrhea and dysphagia (UPDRS); and the last one included the MADRS score as well as neuropsychiatric symptoms. Sleep disorders correlated with presence of wearing-off, nocturia with age >69 years, and nocturnal psychosis with levodopa equivalent dose or UPDRS II score. Neuropsychiatric symptoms correlated with UPDRS II+III score and non-tricyclic antidepressants. These results support the occurrence of significant NMS grouping in PD patients.
PMCID: PMC3109353  PMID: 21687754
10.  Pharmacotherapy of Insomnia with Ramelteon: Safety, Efficacy and Clinical Applications 
Ramelteon is a tricyclic synthetic analog of melatonin that acts specifically on MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors. Ramelteon is the first melatonin receptor agonist approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of insomnia characterized by sleep onset difficulties. Ramelteon is both a chronobiotic and a hypnotic that has been shown to promote sleep initiation and maintenance in various preclinical and in clinical trials. The efficacy and safety of ramelteon in patients with chronic insomnia was initially confirmed in short-term placebo-controlled trials. These showed little evidence of next-day residual effects, withdrawal symptoms or rebound insomnia. Other studies indicated that ramelteon lacked abuse potential and had a minimal risk of producing dependence or adverse effects on cognitive or psychomotor performance. A 6-month placebo-controlled international study and a 1-year open-label study in the USA demonstrated that ramelteon was effective and well tolerated. Other potential off-label uses of ramelteon include circadian rhythm sleep disorders such as shift-work and jet lag. At the present time the drug should be cautiously prescribed for short-term treatment only.
PMCID: PMC3663615  PMID: 23861638
circadian rhythms; hypnotic; insomnia; melatonin; ramelteon; sleep
11.  Clinical Aspects of Melatonin Intervention in Alzheimer’s Disease Progression 
Current Neuropharmacology  2010;8(3):218-227.
Melatonin secretion decreases in Alzheimer´s disease (AD) and this decrease has been postulated as responsible for the circadian disorganization, decrease in sleep efficiency and impaired cognitive function seen in those patients. Half of severely ill AD patients develop chronobiological day-night rhythm disturbances like an agitated behavior during the evening hours (so-called “sundowning”). Melatonin replacement has been shown effective to treat sundowning and other sleep wake disorders in AD patients. The antioxidant, mitochondrial and antiamyloidogenic effects of melatonin indicate its potentiality to interfere with the onset of the disease. This is of particularly importance in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an etiologically heterogeneous syndrome that precedes dementia. The aim of this manuscript was to assess published evidence of the efficacy of melatonin to treat AD and MCI patients. PubMed was searched using Entrez for articles including clinical trials and published up to 15 January 2010. Search terms were “Alzheimer” and “melatonin”. Full publications were obtained and references were checked for additional material where appropriate. Only clinical studies with empirical treatment data were reviewed. The analysis of published evidence made it possible to postulate melatonin as a useful ad-on therapeutic tool in MCI. In the case of AD, larger randomized controlled trials are necessary to yield evidence of effectiveness (i.e. clinical and subjective relevance) before melatonin´s use can be advocated.
PMCID: PMC3001215  PMID: 21358972
Melatonin; Alzheimer's disease; minimal cognitive impairment; neuropsychological tests; clinical trials.
12.  Measurement of melatonin in body fluids: Standards, protocols and procedures 
Child's Nervous System  2010;27(6):879-891.
Background and Purpose
The circadian rhythm of melatonin in saliva or plasma, or of the melatonin metabolite 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (a6MTs) in urine, is a defining feature of suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) function, the body’s endogenous oscillatory pacemaker. The primary objective of this review is to ascertain the clinical benefits and limitations of current methodologies employed for detection and quantification of melatonin in biological fluids and tissues.
Data Identification
A search of the English-language literature (Medline) and a systematic review of published articles were carried out.
Study Selection
Articles that specified both the methodology for quantifying melatonin and indicated the clinical purpose were chosen for inclusion in the review.
Data Extraction
The authors critically evaluated the methodological issues associated with various tools and techniques (e.g. standards, protocols, and procedures).
Results of Data Synthesis
Melatonin measurements are useful for evaluating problems related to the onset or offset of sleep and for assessing phase delays or advances of rhythms in entrained individuals. They have also become an important tool for psychiatric diagnosis, their use being recommended for phase typing in patients suffering from sleep and mood disorders. Additionally, there has been a continuous interest in the use of melatonin as a marker for neoplasms of the pineal region. Melatonin decreases such as found with aging are or post pinealectomy can cause alterations in the sleep/wake cycle. The development of sensitive and selective methods for the precise detection of melatonin in tissues and fluids has increasingly been shown to have direct relevance for clinical decision making.
Due to melatonin’s low concentration, as well as the coexistence of numerous other compounds in the blood, the routine determination of melatonin has been an analytical challenge. The available evidence indicates however that these challenges can be overcome and consequently that evaluation of melatonin's presence and activity can be an accessible and useful tool for clinical diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3128751  PMID: 21104186
Melatonin; Circadian rhythms; Radioimmunoassay; Enzyme-linked immunoassay; High-performance liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Capillary electrophoresis
13.  Parkinson’s disease sleep scale, sleep logs, and actigraphy in the evaluation of sleep in parkinsonian patients 
Journal of Neurology  2009;256(9):1480-1484.
The aim of this study was to compare the results of the day-to-day self-evaluation of sleep quality by sleep logs with Parkinson’s disease sleep scale (PDSS) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. Actigraphy was used as an independent analysis of nighttime activity interfering with sleep. A total of 71 idiopathic PD patients and 21 age- and sex-matched normal individuals lacking any type of sleep disturbance were recruited. Sleep was evaluated by PDSS, 7-d sleep log and actigraphy. Sleep logs and PDSS showed reduced sleep quality and daytime somnolence scores in moderate/severe PD patients as compared to healthy controls. Significant correlations were found between sleep quality in sleep logs and all domains of PDSS sleep quality, except for the presence of nocturia, which correlated with nocturnal activity. PD severity and depression were the only predictors of reduced sleep quality. The retrospective and day-to-day sleep self-evaluations were coincident. Reduced sleep quality was related to increased PD severity and depression scores.
PMCID: PMC3085768  PMID: 19404716
Sleep logs; Parkinson’s disease; Actigraphy; Sleep disorders; Sleep evaluation
14.  Immune response after experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in rats subjected to calorie restriction 
Male Lewis rats (6 weeks-old) were submitted to a calorie restriction equivalent to 33% or 66% of food restriction. Fifteen days later, groups of 7 animals were injected with complete Freund's adjuvant plus spinal cord homogenate (SCH) to induce experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) or with complete Freund's adjuvant alone. EAE was defined solely on clinical grounds. Rats were assessed daily for clinical signs of EAE and were killed on day 15 after immunization. Both diet and SCH injection diminished body weight significantly. In contrast to rats receiving a normal diet or a 33% calorie-restricted diet, rats subjected to severe calorie restriction did not exhibit clinical signs of EAE. Concomitantly with the lack of disease manifestation, 66% of calorie-restricted rats injected with SCH showed significantly less splenic and lymph node mitogenic response to concanavalin A (Con A) and a higher splenic response to lipopolysaccharide. Fewer splenic, lymph node and thymic CD4+ cells, greater numbers of splenic and lymph node CD8+ and CD4+- CD8+ cells, and fewer splenic T, B and T-B cells, and lymph node and thymic B and T-B cells were observed. There was impaired interferon (IFN)-γ production occurred in the three examined tissues. The results are compatible with the view that the acute phase of EAE can be curtailed by severe calorie restriction, presumably through impaired IFN-γ production.
PMCID: PMC1793957  PMID: 17254325
15.  Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in pituitary-grafted Lewis rats 
Treatment of susceptible rats with dopaminergic agonists that reduce prolactin release decreases both severity and duration of clinical signs of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). To assess to what extent the presence of an ectopic pituitary (that produces an increase in plasma prolactin levels mainly derived from the ectopic gland) affects EAE, 39 male Lewis rats were submitted to pituitary grafting from littermate donors. Another group of 38 rats was sham-operated by implanting a muscle fragment similar in size to the pituitary graft. All rats received subcutaneous (s.c.) injections of complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) plus spinal cord homogenate (SCH) and were monitored daily for clinical signs of EAE. Animals were killed by decapitation on days 1, 4, 7, 11 or 15 after immunization and plasma was collected for prolactin RIA. In a second experiment, 48 rats were immunized by s.c. injection of a mixture of SCH and CFA, and then received daily s.c. injections of bromocriptine (1 mg/kg) or saline. Groups of 8 animals were killed on days 8, 11 or 15 after immunization and plasma prolactin was measured. Only sham-operated rats exhibited clinical signs of the disease when assessed on day 15 after immunization. A progressive decrease in plasma prolactin levels was observed in pituitary-grafted rats, attaining a minimum 15 days after immunization, whereas plasma prolactin levels were increased during the course of the disease in sham-operated rats. Plasma prolactin levels were higher in pituitary-grafted rats than in sham-operated rats 1 day after immunization, but lower on days 7, 11 and 15 after immunogen injection. Further supporting a correlation of suppressed prolactin levels with absence of clinical signs of EAE, rats that were administered the dopaminergic agonist bromocriptine showed very low plasma prolactin levels and did not exhibit any clinical sign of EAE. These results indicate that low circulating prolactin levels coincide with absence of clinical signs of EAE in Lewis rats.
PMCID: PMC1563453  PMID: 16928263
16.  Circadian analysis of myocardial infarction incidence in an Argentine and Uruguayan population 
The occurrence of variations in the spectrum of cardiovascular disease between different regions of the world and ethnic groups have been the subject of great interest. This study report the 24-h variation of myocardial infarction (MI) occurrence in patients recruited from CCU located in Argentina and Uruguay.
A cohort of 1063 patients admitted to the CCU within 24 h of the onset of symptoms of an acute MI was examined. MI incidence along the day was computed in 1 h-intervals.
A minimal MI incidence between 03:00 and 07:00 h and the occurrence of a first maximum between 08:00 and 12:00 h and a second maximum between 15:00 and 22:00 h were verified. The best fit curve was a 24 h cosinor (acrophase ~ 19:00 h, accounting for 63 % of variance) together with a symmetrical gaussian bell (maximum at ~ 10:00 h, accounting for 37 % of variance). A similar picture was observed for MI frequencies among different excluding subgroups (older or younger than 70 years; with or without previous symptoms; diabetics or non diabetics; Q wave- or non-Q wave-type MI; anterior or inferior MI location). Proportion between cosinor and gaussian probabilities was maintained among most subgroups except for older patients who had more MI at the afternoon and patients with previous symptoms who were equally distributed among the morning and afternoon maxima.
The results support the existence of two maxima (at morning and afternoon hours) in MI incidence in the Argentine and Uruguayan population.
PMCID: PMC1360093  PMID: 16401349
17.  Effect of rabbit doe-litter separation on 24-hour changes of luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and prolactin release in female and male suckling pups 
The daily pattern of nursing of the rabbit pup by the doe is the most important event in the day for the newborn and is neatly anticipated by them. Such anticipation presumably needs a close correlation with changes in hormones that will allow the pups to develop an appropriate behavior. Although a number of circadian functions have been examined in newborn rabbits, there is no information on 24-h pattern of gonadotropin release or on possible sex-related differences in gonadotropin or prolactin (PRL) release of pups. This study examined the 24-h changes of plasma luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and prolactin (PRL) in 11 days old suckling female and male rabbits left with the mother or after short-term (i.e., 48 h) doe-litter separation.
Animals were kept under controlled light-dark cycles (16 h – 8 h; lights on at 08:00 h). On day 9 post partum, groups of 6–7 female or male rabbit pups were separated from their mothers starting at 6 different time intervals in the 24 h cycle. Pups were killed 48 h after separation. At each time interval groups of male or female pups that stayed with the mother were killed as controls. Plasma, LH, FSH and PRL levels were measured by specific radioimmunoassays.
In pups kept with their mother plasma FSH and LH maxima occurred at the first and second part of the light phase (at 13:00 and 17:00 – 21:00 h, respectively) (females) or as two peaks for each of the hormones (at 13:00 and 01:00 h) (males). PRL release was similar in female and male rabbit pups kept with their mother, showing a 24-h pattern with two peaks, at 13:00 and 01:00 h, respectively. Mean 24-h values of gonadotropins and PRL did not differ between sexes. Isolation of pups for 48 h augmented circulating gonadotropin and PRL levels and distorted hormone 24-h pattern to a similar extent in both sexes.
Significant sex differences in 24-h changes in LH and FSH, but not in PRL, release occurred in rabbit pups kept with the doe. Separation of newborn pups from their mother augmented circulating gonadotropin and PRL levels and disrupted 24-h rhythmicity of gonadotropin and PRL release similarly in both sexes. The effect of pups' isolation can be attributed either to a modification of the circadian pacemaker or to a masking effect on some of its output overt rhythms.
PMCID: PMC1253533  PMID: 16188031
18.  Effect of litter separation on 24-hour rhythmicity of plasma prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone levels in lactating rabbit does 
This work describes the effect of a 48-h litter separation on 24-h patterns of plasma prolactin, FSH and LH concentration in female lactating rabbits kept under a 16:8 light-dark photoperiod (lights on at 0800 h).
Groups of 6–7 female lactating rabbits maintained with their litters or separated from them for 48 h were killed by decapitation on day 11 post-partum, at 6 different time points throughout a 24-h cycle, starting at 0900 h. Plasma levels of prolactin, FSH and LH were measured by specific double antibody radio-immunoassays.
Plasma level of prolactin in control and separated does changed in a similar way throughout the day, showing two maxima, at 0500–0900 h and at 1700–2100 h, respectively. Litter separation significantly augmented plasma FSH and LH and disrupted their 24-h rhythmicity.
Since previous studies had shown that litter separation for short periods of time augmented sexual receptivity and fertility of the doe, the changes in FSH and LH reported may influence the massive release of gonadotropin releasing hormone, LH and FSH triggered by mating or artificial insemination in litter-separated mothers.
PMCID: PMC1166572  PMID: 15932637
19.  24-hour changes in circulating prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and testosterone in male rats subjected to social isolation 
This work analyzes the effect of social isolation (a mild stressor) on the 24-h variation of pituitary-testicular function in young Wistar rats, assessed by measuring circulating levels of prolactin, FSH, LH and testosterone.
Animals were either individually caged or kept in groups (4–5 animals per cage) under a 12:12 h light-dark cycle (lights on at 0800 h) for 30 days starting on day 35 of life. Rats were killed at 4-h intervals during a 24-h cycle, beginning at 0900 h.
Isolation brought about a decrease in prolactin, LH and testosterone secretion and an increase of FSH secretion. In isolated rats the 24-h secretory pattern of prolactin and testosterone became modified, i.e., the maximum in prolactin seen in control animals at the beginning of the activity span was no longer detected, whereas the maximum in circulating testosterone taking place at 1700 h in controls was phase-delayed to 2100 h in isolated rats.
Social isolation affects the 24-h variation of pituitary-testicular function in young rats. Secretion of prolactin, LH and testosterone decreases, and secretion of FSH increases, in isolated rats. The maximum in prolactin seen in group-caged rats at the beginning of the activity span is not observed in isolated rats. The maximum in circulating testosterone taking place at the second part of the rest span in controls is phase-delayed to the light-dark transition in isolated rats.
PMCID: PMC373458  PMID: 14977425
20.  Attitudes towards treatment among patients suffering from sleep disorders. A Latin American survey 
BMC Family Practice  2003;4:17.
Although sleep disorders are common, they frequently remain unnoticed by the general practitioner. Few data are available about the willingness and reasons of patients with sleep disturbances to seek for medical assistance.
The results of a cross-sectional community-based multinational survey in three major Latin American urban areas, i.e. Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, are reported. Two-hundred subjects suffering sleep disturbances and 100 non-sufferers were selected from the general population in each city (total number: 600 sufferers vs. 300 non-sufferers). A structured interview was conducted, sleep characteristics, feelings about sleep disturbances and strategies to cope with those problems being recorded. Data were analyzed by employing either t-test or analysis of variance (ANOVA) to the Z-transformed proportions.
22.7 ± 3.5 % (mean ± SEM) of subjects reported to suffer from sleep disturbances every night. About 3 out of 4 (74.2 ± 2.0 %) considered their disorder as mild and were not very concerned about it. Only 31 ± 2 % of sufferers reported to have sought for medical help. Although 45 ± 2 % of sufferers reported frequent daily sleepiness, trouble to remember things, irritability and headaches, they did not seek for medical assistance. Among those patients who saw a physician with complaints different from sleep difficulties only 1 out of 3 (33 ± 2 % of patients) were asked about quality of their sleep by the incumbent practitioner. Strategies of patients to cope with sleep problems included specific behaviors (taking a warm bath, reading or watching TV) (44 ± 1.6 %), taking herbal beverages (17 ± 1.2 %) or taking sleeping pills (10 ± 1.1 %). Benzodiazepines were consumed by 3 ± 0.6 % of sufferers.
Public educational campaigns on the consequences of sleep disorders and an adequate training of physicians in sleep medicine are needed to educate both the public and the general practitioners about sleep disorders.
PMCID: PMC280681  PMID: 14629777
21.  Age-dependent changes in 24-hour rhythms of catecholamine content and turnover in hypothalamus, corpus striatum and pituitary gland of rats injected with Freund's adjuvant 
BMC Physiology  2001;1:14.
Little information is available on the circadian sequela of an immune challenge in the brain of aged rats. To assess them, we studied 24-hour rhythms in hypothalamic and striatal norepinephrine (NE) content, hypothalamic and striatal dopamine (DA) turnover and hypophysial NE and DA content, in young (2 months) and aged (18–20 months) rats killed at 6 different time intervals, on day 18th after Freund's adjuvant or adjuvant's vehicle administration.
Aging decreased anterior and medial hypothalamic NE content, medial and posterior hypothalamic DA turnover, and striatal NE concentration and DA turnover. Aging also decreased NE and DA content in pituitary neurointermediate lobe and augmented DA content in the anterior pituitary lobe. Immunization by Freund's adjuvant injection caused: (i) reduction of DA turnover in anterior hypothalamus and corpus striatum; (ii) acrophase delay of medial hypothalamic DA turnover in old rats, and of striatal NE content in young rats; (iii) abolition of 24-h rhythm in NE and DA content of neurointermediate pituitary lobe, and in DA content of anterior lobe, of old rats.
The decline in catecholamine neurotransmission with aging could contribute to the decrease of gonadotropin and increase of prolactin release reported in similar groups of rats. Some circadian responses to immunization, e.g. suppression of 24-h rhythms of neurointermediate lobe NE and DA and of anterior lobe DA were seen only in aged rats.
PMCID: PMC61031  PMID: 11741510

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