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J Pineal Res. 2003 Oct;35(3):196-203.

Analysis of gene expression following norepinephrine stimulation in the rat pineal gland using DNA microarray technique.

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Neuroscience Institute and NSF Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA.


Several studies have demonstrated that norepinephrine (NE) is the critical neurotransmitter for the regulation of gene expression in the pineal gland. We studied the acute effect of NE stimulation in cultured rat pineal glands using Affymetrix rat genome microarray GeneChip probe arrays. Our data demonstrate that NE stimulation affects regulation of several genes; 44 and 29 genes were up- or down-regulated more than 2.5-fold, respectively. As shown in previous studies, arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase, cyclic AMP responsive element modulator, jun-B and c-fos mRNA levels were increased by NE stimulation. Genes that were not previously reported and increased by NE stimulation in the pineal gland were protein tyrosine phosphatase, nuclear receptors, and activity and neurotransmitter-induced early genes. Unlike up-regulated genes, most of the down-regulated genes were not reported previously. Genes encoding enzymes involved in metabolism and structural proteins were decreased following NE stimulation. Identification of genes affected by NE stimulation would provide valuable information to understanding pineal biology fully.

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