The role of melatonin in the regulation of reproduction in humans is still controversial. In the present study the effects of melatonin were examined, 6 mg given orally every day at 1700 h for 1 month in a double-blind, placebo controlled fashion, on the nocturnal secretory profiles of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone and inhibin beta in six healthy adult men.
Serum concentrations of LH, FSH, testosterone and inhibin beta were determined before and after treatment every 15 min from 1900 to 0700 h over 3 nights in a controlled dark-light environment with simultaneous polysomnographic sleep recordings.
The following sleep parameters were determined: total recording time, sleep latency, actual sleep time, sleep efficiency, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep latency and percentages of sleep stages 2, 3/4 and REM. There were no statistically significant differences in all sleep parameters between baseline and placebo or between baseline and melatonin except for longer REM latency and lower percentage REM at baseline than under melatonin treatment. These are explained as reflecting first-night effect at baseline.
The mean nocturnal LH, FSH, testosterone and inhibin beta integrated nocturnal secretion values did not change during the treatment period. Likewise, their pulsatile characteristics during melatonin treatment were not different from baseline values.
Taken together, these data suggest that long-term melatonin administration does not alter the secretory patterns of reproductive hormones in normal men.