Calcium, calcification, and melatonin biosynthesis in the human pineal gland: A postmortem study into age-related factors

Authors


Address reprint requests to Hermann Schmid, MD, PhD, Veterans Administration Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02908.

Abstract

Schmid HA, Requintina PJ, Oxenkrug GF, Sturner W. Calcium, calcification, and melatonin biosynthesis in the human pineal gland: A postmortem study into age-related factors. J. Pineal Res. 1994:16:178–183.

Abstract

It is believed that pineal calcification may be age-associated and that the well-demonstrated age-related decline in melatonin biosynthesis may be an expression of an alteration in calcium homeostasis in the pinealocyte. Prior correlations of melatonin to calcium deposition and age were made on the basis of radiological or semiquantitative analysis. In this postmortem study of 33 subjects (age range 3 months to 65 years) calcium deposits measured by atomic absorption spectrometry correlated positively with age in day and night samples (day: r = 0.56, P < 0.05; night: r = 0.818, P < 0.001). Nighttime (2200 h to 0800 h) pineal melatonin content (HPLC fluorometry) was higher than daytime melatonin levels (nighttime 3.80 ± 0.3 vs. daytime 0.85 ± 0.4 ng/mg protein). Nighttime calcium levels in the supernatant correlated negatively with melatonin content (r =−0.59, P < 0.05).

Ancillary