In this study, serum melatonin and urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) were measured in 14 major depressive inpatients, compared to 14 matched controls according to age, gender, season and hormonal treatment in women. Moreover, the relationship between serum melatonin and urinary aMT6s levels was analysed in the two groups. Results indicated that the two groups of subjects showed a clear melatonin rhythm without significant difference in the mean level of melatonin or aMT6s, in the area under the curve of melatonin or in the melatonin peak. However, the time of the nocturnal melatonin peak secretion was significantly delayed in depressive subjects as compared to healthy controls. Moreover, the depressed patients showed urinary aMT6s concentrations enhanced in the morning compared to night time levels, while these concentrations were lowered from the night to the morning in the control group. These results suggest that the melatonin production is phase-shifted in major depression.