Insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and an abnormal production of adipokines and cytokines are implicated in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Recently, we reported a significant improvement in plasma liver enzymes among patients with NASH treated with melatonin. In this study, we investigated the effect of melatonin, administered at a dose of 10 mg/day for 28 days to 16 patients with histologically proven NASH on insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), on the plasma levels of adiponectin, leptin, ghrelin, and resistin. Additionally, plasma levels of aminotransferases and gamma glutamyltranspeptidase as well as plasma concentrations of melatonin were evaluated. Median baseline values of HOMA-IR, leptin (ng/mL), and resistin (pg/mL) in patients with NASH were significantly higher in comparison with controls: 4.90 versus 1.60, 10.70 versus 4.30, and 152 versus 91, respectively. Median adiponectin level (μg/mL) was decreased in patients compared to controls: 6.40 versus 16.25; no significant difference in ghrelin levels between patients and controls was found. After melatonin treatment, the median value of HOMA-IR was significantly reduced by 60% as compared to baseline values, whereas adiponectin, leptin, and ghrelin plasma levels rose significantly by 119%, 33%, and 20%, respectively; the difference between pre-/posttreatment in plasma resistin levels was not significant. These findings make melatonin a suitable candidate for testing in patients with NASH in the large controlled clinical trials.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.