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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1984 Oct;56(1):70-81.

Melatonin rhythms in the eyes, pineal bodies, and blood of Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica).


Melatonin levels in the eyes, pineal bodies, and blood of Japanese quail exposed to 12L:12D show robust daily rhythms with high levels occurring in the night and low levels occurring during the day. Since melatonin is synthesized in both the eyes and pineal bodies of birds, the relative contribution of these structures to the blood melatonin levels was determined. A rhythm of blood melatonin persisted in 12L:12D in birds blinded by complete orbital enucleation and in pinealectomized birds but the nighttime levels were reduced by 33 and 54%, respectively, as compared to melatonin levels in control quail. Only a small melatonin rhythm (13% of control levels) was detected in the blood of pinealectomized, blinded quail. This "residual" rhythm could indicate either the contribution of extrapineal, extraocular sources of melatonin or melatonin secretion from remnants (if any) of pineal body tissue remaining after pinealectomy. Blinding did not obviously affect pineal melatonin levels nor did pinealectomy affect ocular melatonin levels. It was concluded that (1) daily rhythms in melatonin content occur in the pineal bodies, the eyes, and the blood of quail; (2) the blood rhythm is the result of melatonin secretion from both the pineal body and the eyes; (3) extraretinal photoreceptors can mediate entrainment of the pineal melatonin rhythm; and (4) obvious compensatory changes in melatonin levels do not occur in the eye following pinealectomy or in the pineal body following blinding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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