- The circadian rhythm of 6-sulphatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) excretion has been determined in male and female rats at 3 weeks and at 2, 8, 14 and 20 months of age. All animals have a pronounced circadian pattern of aMT6s excretion under a 12 hour dark: 12 hour light cycle. A significant increase in aMT6s excretion is observed from 3 weeks to 14 months followed by a decrease at 20 months. There is a highly significant correlation between aMT6s excretion and body weight (r = 0.73 for female rats and r = 0.74 for male rats; p values are all less than 0.001). Thus, a decrease in aMT6s excretion associated with increasing age occurs when body weight is taken into consideration. aMT6s excretion is higher in males at 3 weeks and at 2 and 8 months of ages. Urinary testosterone in male rats and estradiol in female rats increase from 3 weeks to 8 months and decrease at older ages. These data suggest that increase of body weight from 3 weeks to 14 months is an important factor responsible for the age-related alteration. The sex differences in aMT6s excretion in younger rats may be associated with their sex hormonal milieu.