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Brain Res. 1990 Jan 8;506(2):353-7.

Melatonin receptors and signal transduction in melatonin-sensitive and melatonin-insensitive populations of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus).

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Chronobiology, Children's Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


The pineal hormone melatonin times seasonal alterations in reproductive function in photoperiodic mammals. In white-footed mice, there is variation in responsiveness to the reproductive effects of melatonin between populations originating in different locations; mice from Connecticut (CT) respond normally to melatonin, while mice from Georgia (GA) appear insensitive to melatonin. In the present paper, we compare melatonin receptor distribution and a second messenger response to melatonin in white-footed mice from CT and GA. Specific binding of 125I-labeled melatonin (I-MEL) was observed in a variety of brain regions in each population, but there were no consistent differences in the distribution or intensity of I-MEL binding between the populations. Furthermore, melatonin inhibited forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation in median eminence/pars tuberalis explants from both populations. These results suggest that insensitivity to melatonin in GA mice is not due to a gross defect in melatonin receptors or receptor-effector coupling.

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