The pineal gland is integral to the circadian timing system due to its role in nightly melatonin production. Retinoic acid (RA) is a potent regulator of gene transcription and has previously been found to exhibit diurnal changes in synthesis and signalling in the rat pineal gland. This study investigated the potential for the interaction of these two systems. PCR was used to study gene expression in mouse and human pineal glands, ex-vivo organotypic cultured rat pineal gland and cell lines. The mouse and human pineal glands were both found to express the necessary components required for RA signalling. RA influences the circadian clock in the brain, therefore the short-term effect of RA on clock gene expression was determined in ex vivo rat pineal glands but was not found to rapidly regulate Per1, Per2, Bmal1, or Cry1. The interaction between RA and melatonin was also investigated and, unexpectedly, melatonin was found to suppress the induction of gene transcription by RA. This study demonstrates that pineal expression of the RA signalling system is conserved across mammalian species. There is no short-term regulation of the circadian clock but an inhibitory effect of melatonin on RA transcriptional activity was demonstrated, suggesting that there may be functional cross-talk between these systems.
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Jan 2023|
- Pineal Gland/metabolism
- Signal Transduction