Association of nocturnal melatonin secretion with insulin resistance in nondiabetic young women

Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Jul 15;178(2):231-8. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws470. Epub 2013 Jun 28.


Exogenous melatonin ameliorates insulin resistance in animals, while among humans, polymorphisms in the melatonin receptor gene are associated with insulin resistance. We aimed to investigate the association of endogenous nocturnal melatonin secretion with insulin resistance in humans. We analyzed the association between endogenous nocturnal melatonin secretion, estimated by measuring the main melatonin metabolite, 6-sulfatoxymelatonin, from the first morning urinary void, and the prevalence of insulin resistance based on fasting blood samples collected in a cross-sectional study of 1,075 US women (1997-1999) without diabetes, hypertension, or malignancy. Urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin level was standardized to urinary creatinine level; insulin resistance was defined as an insulin sensitivity index value (using the McAuley formula) less than 7.85. Logistic regression models included adjustment for age, body mass index, smoking, physical activity, alcohol intake, dietary glycemic index, family history of diabetes mellitus, blood pressure, plasma total cholesterol, uric acid, and estimated glomerular filtration rate. Higher nocturnal melatonin secretion was inversely associated with insulin levels and insulin resistance. In fully adjusted models, the odds ratio for insulin resistance was 0.45 (95% confidence interval: 0.28, 0.74) among women in the highest quartile of urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin:creatinine ratio compared with women in the lowest quartile. Nocturnal melatonin secretion is independently and inversely associated with insulin resistance.

Keywords: 6-sulfatoxymelatonin; circadian rhythm; cross-sectional analysis; diabetes mellitus, type 2; insulin resistance; melatonin; premenopause.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Melatonin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Melatonin / urine
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio


  • Biomarkers
  • 6-sulfatoxymelatonin
  • Melatonin