Is pineal melatonin released in the third ventricle in humans? A study in movement disorders

Neurochirurgie. Apr-Jun 2015;61(2-3):85-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuchi.2013.04.004. Epub 2014 Jun 26.


In order to determine sources and metabolism of melatonin in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), melatonin and 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6S) concentrations were measured in CSF sampled during neurosurgery in both lateral and third ventricles in patients displaying movement disorder (Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia or dyskinesia) and compared with their plasma levels. Previous determinations in nocturnal urine had showed that the patients displayed melatonin excretion in the normal range, compared with healthy controls matched according to age. A significant difference in melatonin concentration was observed between lateral and third ventricles, with the highest levels in the third ventricle (8.75±2.75pg/mL vs. 3.20±0.33pg/mL, P=0.01). CSF aMT6s levels were similar in both ventricles and of low magnitude, less than 5pg/mL. They were not correlated with melatonin levels or influenced by the area of sampling. Melatonin levels were significantly higher in third ventricle than in the plasma, whereas there was no difference between plasma and lateral ventricle levels. These findings show that melatonin may enter directly the CSF through the pineal recess in humans. The physiological meaning of these data remains to be elucidated.

Keywords: AMT6S; Cerebrospinal fluid; Human; LCS; Melatonin; Mélatonine; Parkinson.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lateral Ventricles / metabolism
  • Male
  • Melatonin / analogs & derivatives
  • Melatonin / blood*
  • Melatonin / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Melatonin / pharmacology
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / blood*
  • Movement Disorders / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis
  • Pineal Gland / metabolism*
  • Third Ventricle / metabolism*


  • 6-sulfatoxymelatonin
  • Melatonin