Expression of melatonin in platelets of patients with aspirin-induced asthma

Eur J Clin Invest. 2011 Jul;41(7):781-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2011.02484.x. Epub 2011 Feb 17.


Background: The diffuse neuroimmunoendocrine system (DNIES) is a universal system of response, control and organism protection. Platelets are cells of DNIES producing and storing melatonin which plays an important role in the regulation of physiological processes in the human body, under normal conditions and in pathology. Our previous study has revealed a low basic melatonin production in patients with aspirin-induced asthma (AIA). It has been suggested that low daytime production of melatonin in patients with AIA is attributable to the reduction in its synthesis in platelets in this group of patients. The objective of this study was to investigate this hypothesis.

Materials and methods: The melatonin expression in platelets has been studied by means of indirect immunofluorescence in nine patients with AIA and 14 healthy subjects.

Results: The results of the study have revealed that only 13·1 ± 1·3% of platelets in patients with AIA have shown melatonin-specific luminescence, compared to 97·7 ± 0·6% of platelets in healthy subjects (P < 0·001). No melatonin expression has been observed in the rest of platelets in patients with AIA. No significant difference between the degree of the melatonin luminescence in platelets of the patients with AIA and control group has been found.

Conclusions: It can be concluded that the reduced melatonin synthesis in platelets of patients with AIA may determine a low daytime melatonin production and may lead to impairments in platelet receptors and ion channels. This results in disturbances in calcium homoeostasis, which may be a cause of platelet activation and pathological response to exogenous melatonin and acetylsalicylic acid.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma, Aspirin-Induced / blood*
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / biosynthesis
  • Melatonin / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Melatonin