Patients with nocturnal asthma demonstrate circadian variations in airway inflammation. We hypothesized that melatonin, a circadian rhythm regulator, modulates circadian inflammatory variations in asthma. The effect of melatonin stimulation on peripheral blood mononuclear cell cytokine production was evaluated at 4:00 P.M. and 4:00 A.M. in normal control subjects, patients with nocturnal asthma, and patients with non-nocturnal asthma. Melatonin was proinflammatory, causing significantly increased production of interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α at 4:00 P.M. and 4:00 A.M. in all subject groups (range, 12.8 ± 3.3 to 131.72 ± 16.4%, p ≤ 0.0003). The observed increases in cytokine production did not change between 4:00 P.M. and 4:00 A.M. in control subjects or in patients with nocturnal asthma (p > 0.05, both cases). At 4:00 P.M., the cytokine response to melatonin of patients with nocturnal asthma was greater than that of control subjects or patients with non-nocturnal asthma and did not change significantly at 4:00 A.M. At 4:00 P.M., the cytokine response of patients with non-nocturnal asthma was less than that of patients with nocturnal asthma and rose significantly at 4:00 A.M. (p = 0.0001, all comparisons). Melatonin is proinflammatory in both patients with asthma and healthy subjects. Patients with nocturnal asthma demonstrate the largest daytime cytokine response and cannot be further stimulated at 4:00 A.M., suggesting chronic overstimulation in vivo. These results suggest differential immunomodulatory effects of melatonin based on asthma clinical phenotype and may indicate an adverse effect of exogenous melatonin in asthma.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine|
|State||Published - Oct 15 2002|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine