Elevated nocturnal melatonin is a consequence of gonadotropin-releasing hormone deficiency in women with hypothalamic amenorrhea

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Oct;83(10):3653-62. doi: 10.1210/jcem.83.10.5155.


Elevated nocturnal melatonin is found in women with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH), but it is not known whether this is implicated in the etiology of their GnRH deficiency. It is unlikely that nocturnal melatonin can be implicated in the etiology of the GnRH deficiency of Kallmann's syndrome (KS), because this condition is caused by defective neuronal migration in embryonic life. We therefore measured nocturnal melatonin in women with IHH and KS to determine whether it was elevated in one or both conditions and thereby to determine whether it was implicated as cause or consequence of GnRH deficiency. Four women with IHH, 3 women with KS, and 7 individually matched (age and body size) controls were recruited. Frequent day- and nighttime samples were taken for LH pulsatility studies. All patients showed absent or diminished LH pulsatility, compared with their respective controls. Samples were also taken over 24 h for melatonin and 6-sulphatoxymelatonin (the principle metabolite of melatonin and an independent marker of its secretion). Melatonin and 6-sulphatoxymelatonin levels were elevated in 6 of 7 patients (compared with their matched controls) and were significantly elevated in the KS group (compared with their controls). The finding of elevated nocturnal melatonin (and its metabolite) in GnRH-deficient women with KS (as well as IHH) suggests that nocturnal melatonin is elevated as a consequence of GnRH deficiency, irrespective of its etiology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / blood*
  • Amenorrhea / etiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / deficiency*
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / blood
  • Hypothalamic Diseases / complications*
  • Kallmann Syndrome / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Melatonin / analogs & derivatives
  • Melatonin / blood*
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Reference Values


  • 6-sulfatoxymelatonin
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Melatonin