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Melatonin Secretion Is Increased in Children with Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Department of Human Pathology in Adult and Developmental Age, University of Messina, 98125 Messina, Italy
Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, 78229 TX, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Cesar Borlongan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(5), 1053;
Received: 7 April 2017 / Revised: 9 May 2017 / Accepted: 11 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Melatonin and Its Analogues: Experimental and Clinical Aspects)
PDF [744 KB, uploaded 13 May 2017]


Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in children. Oxidative stress plays a significant role in brain damage and melatonin exhibits both direct and indirect antioxidant effects. The primary aim of the present study was to evaluate serum melatonin levels in children with severe TBI in comparison to critically ill children admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for conditions other than TBI. Methods: Twenty-four children were evaluated, equally divided into severe TBI and no-TBI. Blood samples for serum melatonin analysis were collected at 22:00, 01:00, 03:00, 05:00, 08:00, and 12:00. Results: Mean serum melatonin peaks in children of the TBI group were higher compared to the values of no-TBI critically ill children (495 ± 102 vs. 294 ± 119 pg/mL, p = 0.0002). Furthermore, the difference was even more significant in comparison to values reported in literature for healthy age-matched children (495 ± 102 vs. 197 ± 71 pg/mL, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: This study has shown that endogenous serum melatonin levels dramatically increase in children after severe TBI. This elevation is likely to represent a response to oxidative stress and/or inflammation due to severe head injury. View Full-Text
Keywords: traumatic brain injury; melatonin; pediatric intensive care; oxidative stress; antioxidant traumatic brain injury; melatonin; pediatric intensive care; oxidative stress; antioxidant

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Marseglia, L.; D’Angelo, G.; Manti, S.; Rulli, I.; Salvo, V.; Buonocore, G.; Reiter, R.J.; Gitto, E. Melatonin Secretion Is Increased in Children with Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1053.

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