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Melatonin and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

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Scoliosis seen in the chicken after pinealectomy resembles adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in man. It has been suggested that in both species, deficiency of the pineal hormone, melatonin, is responsible for this phenomenon.

In nine patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and in ten age- and gender-matched controls, the circadian levels of serum melatonin and the excretion of urinary 6-hydroxy-melatonin-sulphate, the principal metabolite of melatonin, were determined. There were no statistically significant differences in the secretion of serum melatonin or the excretion of urinary 6-hydroxy-melatonin-sulphate between the patients and the control group. The hypothesis of melatonin deficiency as a causative factor in the aetiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis cannot be supported by our data.

Correspondence should be sent to Professor F. Waldhauser.

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