2007 Volume 26 Issue 2 Pages 209-215
The purpose of this study was to examine the seasonal variations of melatonin secretion of subjects and of their surrounding light conditions. Eight Japanese female students (20.1±2.6 yrs, Mean±SD) living in Fukuoka, Japan, participated in the present study. Saliva samples were collected every 3 hours over the course of a day, and the light intensity during daily life was measured every 1 min for 5 days in the four seasons. Almost all subjects had different melatonin secretory profiles in autumn, with only two subjects showing similar rhythms in all four seasons. The peak values of melatonin secretion calculated by a spline interpolation were higher in autumn than those in other seasons (p<0.001, Fisher's PLSD) and its peak time in this season was significantly delayed compared with those in spring and summer (p<0.05, Fisher's PLSD). The amount of time during daytime exposure to light of >1,000 lux was at least thirty minutes in all the seasons, and there were no significant differences among them. The relationship between peak level of melatonin secretion and amount of time of daytime light exposure to >1,000 lux was significant only in the autumn. During this season, there was a significant positive correlation (r=0.83, p<0.05, n=6), except for two subjects, whose melatonin secretion remained low.