Laboratory studies indicate that melatonin has beneficial vascular effects. However, epidemiologic studies on the relationship between endogenous levels of melatonin and hypertension in humans are limited. We examined the association of quartile levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) in first morning urines with prevalent and incident hypertension in 777 postmenopausal women who were originally part of a case-control study of breast cancer nested in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. A total of 321 prevalent and 172 incident cases of hypertension were studied. In cross-sectional analyses, higher quartile level of aMT6s was associated with lower odds of hypertension (Q4 versus Q1; odds ratio = 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.3-0.9), after adjustment for age, body mass index and other risk factors. We also examined the association between baseline aMT6s levels and risk of incident hypertension. Compared to women in the lowest quartile of urinary aMT6s, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios and 95% CIs of incident hypertension for women in the second, third and highest quartile were 1.16 (0.8-1.8), 0.96 (0.6-1.5) and 1.02 (0.6-1.6), respectively. The mean change in systolic and diastolic blood pressure over 3 years also did not vary by baseline quartile levels of aMT6s. Although we found no evidence of a prospective association between urinary levels of aMT6s and risk of incident hypertension in postmenopausal women, our cross-sectional results provide some possible evidence of a role for physiologic levels of melatonin in hypertension. Additional larger studies are warranted, preferably with a wider range of ages, both genders and multiple melatonin measurements.
Keywords: Hypertension; melatonin; postmenopausal women.