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Reprod Suppl. 2003;61:311-21.

Origin of cerebrospinal fluid melatonin and possible function in the integration of photoperiod.

Author information

1
UMR INRA-CNRS-Université de Tours, Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, 37380 Nouzilly, France.

Abstract

Melatonin, which is synthesized at night by the pineal gland, is present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but its entry site and its role in this compartment are not known. Using several approaches, we tested the hypothesis that melatonin enters the CSF through the pineal recess, an evagination of the third ventricle. CSF melatonin concentrations are higher near the pineal gland than in the anterior part of the third ventricle, and decrease markedly (80%) after sealing off the pineal recess. Moreover, ultrastructure and permeability analyses of the pineal-CSF interface showed that melatonin could reach the CSF either via delivery in situ by protruding pinealocytes that make direct contact with the CSF or via extracellular secretion and interstitial fluid draining into the ventricular lumen. These data indicate that melatonin in the CSF probably originates from a few pinealocytes of the basal part of the pineal gland neighbouring the pineal recess. Melatonin carried to the brain by the blood appears to be able to mediate the effects of photoperiod on reproduction, but it is unclear whether melatonin in CSF may fine-tune this response both in terms of timing and amplitude. It is critical to determine which pathway, blood or CSF, allows melatonin to reach its central targets more efficiently.

PMID:
14635944
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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