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Experientia. 1989 Oct 15;45(10):932-8.

Melatonin and circadian control in mammals.

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1
Department of Psychology, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

Although pinealectomy has little influence on the circadian locomotor rhythms of laboratory rats, administration of the pineal hormone melatonin has profound effects. Evidence for this comes from studies in which pharmacological doses of melatonin are administered under conditions of external desynchronization, internal desynchronization, steady state light-dark conditions, and phase shifts of the zeitgeber. Taken together with recent findings on melatonin receptor concentration in the rat hypothalamus, particularly at the level of the suprachiasmatic nuclei, these results suggest that melatonin is a potent synchronizer of rat circadian rhythms and has a direct action on the circadian pacemaker. It is possible, therefore, that the natural role of endogenous melatonin is to act as an internal zeitgeber for the total circadian structure of mammals at the level of cell, tissue, organ, whole organism and interaction of that organism with environmental photoperiod changes.

PMID:
2680573
DOI:
10.1007/bf01953050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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