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Neurosci Lett. 2013 May 10;542:123-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.03.021. Epub 2013 Mar 23.

Evidence for feedback control of pineal melatonin secretion.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Melatonin is the principle hormonal product of the pineal gland. It is secreted with a robust daily rhythm, peaking near the middle of the night. During the daytime, concentrations remain very low, as exposure to light robustly suppresses its secretion. The regulation of melatonin by light is well-characterized, but an interesting feature of the daily melatonin rhythm is that its peak occurs near the middle of the night and then levels begin to drop hours before morning light exposure. The mechanism underlying the light-independent drop in melatonin during late night remains unspecified. Feedback control is one mechanism of hormone regulation, but no studies thus far have explored the possibility of such regulation in the pineal of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus). The pineal gland and SCN express melatonin receptors, and melatonin regulates its own receptor density in the brain. We investigated the possibility of feedback control of melatonin by administering melatonin receptor antagonists to female white-footed mice and then measuring plasma melatonin concentrations. In the first experiment, we observed that luzindole, a dual MT1/MT2 receptor antagonist administered 1h after lights off, caused an increase in plasma melatonin both 1 and 2h later. In a second experiment, we did not observe a change in melatonin concentrations following injection of an antagonist specific for the MT2 subtype. These results suggest the possibility of feedback control of melatonin release, occurring preferentially through the MT1 receptor subtype.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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