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Vis Neurosci. 1994 Sep-Oct;11(5):1013-8.

Regulation of endogenous dopamine release in amphibian retina by melatonin: the role of GABA.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322-3090.


In the retina of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), endogenous dopamine release increases in light and decreases in darkness. Exogenous melatonin and several chemical analogs of melatonin suppressed light-evoked dopamine release from frog retina in a concentration-dependent manner. The rank order of potency for inhibition of light-evoked dopamine release was melatonin >> 5-methoxytryptamine > or = N-acetylserotonin > 5-methoxytryptophol >>> serotonin. Melatonin did not suppress dopamine release below levels seen in darkness. The putative melatonin receptor antagonist luzindole inhibited the effect of melatonin. Luzindole enhanced dopamine release in darkness but had little effect in light. These data suggest a role for endogenous melatonin in dark-induced suppression of retinal dopamine. Picrotoxin and bicuculline, GABA-A receptor antagonists, blocked melatonin-induced suppression of dopamine release. In the presence of melatonin, bicuculline was significantly less potent in stimulating dopamine release. These results suggest that melatonin enhances GABAergic inhibition of light-evoked dopamine release. This mechanism may underlie the light/dark difference in dopamine release in vertebrate retina.

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