A Study on Pineal Gland and Melatonin in relation to 'Severe Depressive Episode'

AUTHOR(s) : Deka Rup Sekhar, Baro Baneswar
DOI No. : 01.2017-61547532

The pineal gland or epiphysis cerebri is a small grey organ occupying a depression between the superior colliculi. The importance of the pineal gland lies in its function. The gland is a neuroendocrine gland and consists of parenchymal cells, called pinealocytes and neuroglial cells. The pinealocytes secrate a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin, 5methoxy-Nacetyltryptamin, is a neurohormone of the brain produced by pineal gland. The precursor to melatonin is serotonin, a neurotransmitter that itself is derived from the amino acid tryptophan. On the other hand ‘severe depressive episode’ is one of the commonest problems encountered by the doctors in the tropical countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Two particularly notable features of depression is diminished nighttime release of melatonin and abnormal sensitivity to melatonin suppression. Variation of the blood melatonin level, in the patients suffering from “severe depressive episode” with the normal individuals was seen in two groups: group “A” & group “B”. In group “A” (control) subjects were selected from the medical and non medical voluntaries working at Gauhati Medical College & Hospital. In the other group “B” (case) patients attending the Psychiatry ‘Out Patient Department’ of Gauhati Medical College & Hospital with “severe depressive episode” were taken. The data recorded was analysed statistically using Student’s T-test. P value < 0.05 is considered as statistically significant. Such a study may be useful in establishing a database which may be useful in treating the patients suffering from ‘severe depressive episode’.

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