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Evidence for direct vasoconstrictor activity of melatonin in "pressurized" segments of isolated caudal artery from juvenile rats.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, England.


Responses of isolated, 60 mmHg 'pressurized' segments of the distal caudal artery of adult and juvenile Wistar rats to melatonin and the selective alpha 2-adrenoceptor agonist 5-bromo-6-[2-imidazolin-2-ylamino]-quinoxaline bitartrate (UK-14304) were examined using the Halpern pressure myograph. Melatonin showed no direct vasoconstrictor activity in vessels from adult rats, whereas UK-14304 produced moderate vasoconstriction (pD2-7.43 +/- 0.09). In the presence of phenylephrine-induced tone, melatonin produced a variable but small constrictor response (less than 10 microns reduction in diameter) in some vessels; the response to 1 mumol/l UK-14304 was less than in the absence of tone. In vessels isolated from juvenile rats, melatonin caused concentration-dependent vasoconstriction with a maximum response about 70% of the maximum response elicited by UK-14304. Vessels from juvenile rats were more sensitive to melatonin (pD2-9.40 +/- 0.07) than they were to UK-14304 (pD2-8.12 +/- 0.14). In the presence of phenylephrine-induced tone, the vasoconstrictor responses to both melatonin and IK-14304 were markedly less; the sensitivity to melatonin was not different from that seen in the absence of tone. These findings indicate that 'pressurized' segments of the isolated distal caudal artery may provide a simple and convenient, functional model of melatonin receptors. The findings also appear to implicate melatonin in thermoregulatory processes in juvenile rats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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