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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2002 Sep;302(3):1295-302.

MT(2) melatonin receptors are present and functional in rat caudal artery.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 303 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


In rat caudal artery, contraction to melatonin results primarily from activation of MT(1) melatonin receptors; however, the role of MT(2) melatonin receptors in vascular responses is controversial. We examined and compared the expression and function of MT(2) receptors with that of MT(1) receptors in male rat caudal artery. MT(1) and MT(2) melatonin receptor mRNA was amplified by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction from caudal arteries of three rat strains (i.e., Fisher, Sprague-Dawley, and Wistar). Antisense (but not sense) (33)P-labeled oligonucleotide probes specific for MT(1) or MT(2) receptor mRNA hybridized to smooth muscle, as well as intimal and adventitial layers, of caudal artery. In male Fisher rat caudal artery denuded of endothelium, melatonin was 10 times more potent than 6-chloromelatonin to potentiate contraction to phenylephrine, suggesting activation of smooth muscle MT(1) melatonin receptors. The MT(1)/MT(2) competitive melatonin receptor antagonist luzindole (3 microM), blocked melatonin-mediated contraction (0.1-100 nM) with an affinity constant (K(B) value of 157 nM) similar to that for the human MT(1) receptor. However, at melatonin concentrations above 100 nM, luzindole potentiated the contractile response, suggesting blockade of MT(2) receptors mediating vasorelaxation and/or an inverse agonist effect at MT(1) constitutively active receptors. The involvement of MT(2) receptors in vasorelaxation is supported by the finding that the competitive antagonists 4-phenyl 2-acetamidotetraline and 4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetraline, at MT(2)-selective concentrations (10 nM), significantly enhanced contractile responses to all melatonin concentrations tested (0.1 nM-10 microM). We conclude that MT(2) melatonin receptors expressed in vascular smooth muscle mediate vasodilation in contrast to vascular MT(1) receptors mediating vasoconstriction.

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