Melatonin–insulin interactions in patients with metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome (MS) as a group of risk factors is strongly associated with diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular disease. Insulin resistance plays a key role in the pathogenesis of MS. Recent studies have shown that melatonin may influence insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis. Therefore, the present study analyzed the relationships between the melatonin and the insulin in patients with MS and controls. The melatonin rhythm, insulin and lipid levels were studied in 40 subjects (21 patients and 19 controls) in reproductive age. The night melatonin–insulin ratio was correlated negatively with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (r = −0.370, p = 0.024) and total cholesterol (r = −0.348, p = 0.030), and positively with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (r = +0.414, p = 0.010).

Night-time melatonin levels were related to night-time insulin concentrations (r = +0.313, p = 0.049). The correlation was pronounced in patients with MS (r = +0.640, p = 0.002), but did not reach statistical significance in controls (P > 0.05). In the patients with MS unlike the controls the night–day melatonin difference (%) correlated negatively with the fasting glucose (r = −0.494, p = 0.023) and positively to daily insulin (r = +0.536, p = 0.012). Our results show that melatonin–insulin interactions may exist in patients with MS, as well as relationships between melatonin–insulin ratio and the lipid profile. Pineal disturbances could influence the pathogenesis and the phenotype variations of the MS. Larger studies are needed to confirm or reject this hypothesis and to clarify the role of the melatonin in the metabolic disturbances.

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