Journal of the Endocrine Society Journal Article

Melatonin in the Menstrual Cycle and Menopause

October 26, 2020
 

Gail A Greendale, Paula Witt-Enderby, Arun S Karlamangla, Fahima Munmun, Sybil Crawford, MeiHua Huang, Nanette Santoro
Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 4, Issue 11, November 2020, bvaa115
https://doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvaa115

Abstract

Context

Melatonin may play a role in the regulation of the human menstrual cycle and may decline with menopause and/or aging.

Objective

The objective of this work is to investigate the relations between melatonin and the menstrual cycle, menopause, and aging.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of 20 participants from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Daily Hormone Study (DHS). The outcome measure was first-morning urine assay of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s), a gauge of melatonin. For each participant, aMT6s was measured daily during one premenopausal cycle with evidence of luteal activity (ELA) and one postmenopausal collection with no evidence of luteal activity (NELA).

Results

In addition to the organized patterns of hormone metabolites (estrone conjugates [E1c], and pregnanediol glucuronide [PdG]) and gonadotropins that characterized ovulatory menstrual cycles, there was a late luteal rise in aMT6s. In NELA collections, there was no periodicity of E1c, PdG, gonadotropins, or aMT6s. The strongest predictors of aMT6s levels were PdG values 11 to 12 days prior to aMT6s (β = 1.46, P = .001 and β = 1.44, P = .001, respectively). E1c and gonadotropins were not statistically significantly associated with aMT6s. Mean aMT6s in premenopause was 53.5 ng/mL, greater than the mean of 37.4 ng/mL in postmenopausal samples from the same women (P = .0002).

Conclusions

This study confirms a late luteal melatonin rise, likely signaled by progesterone, which may influence menstrual cycle pacemaker control. Melatonin declined from premenopause to postmenopause. A high correlation between menopause transition stage and age precludes distinction between the influences of ovarian and chronological aging.

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