Stimulation of Melatonin Synthesis in Ovine Pineals In Vitro

Peter John Morgan, Lynda Williams, W LAWSON, G RIDDOCH

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Static and superfused pineal slices (750 µm) have been used to study the control of melatonin synthesis by ovine pineals. Static incubates show a time-dependent accumulation of melatonin in the medium; this is significantly increased by stimulation with norepinephrine (NE) (10-5M), reaching 300% above control levels after 4 h. Perifused pineal slices show a rapid rise in melatonin release within 12–18 min in response to NE stimulation. This reaches a 3.5–4.5-fold increase in melatonin released within 30 min. Withdrawal of NE is associated with a rapid return to prestimulated levels within 12–18 min. These time-course characteristics compare favorably to those changes seen in vivo. The formation of [14C]melatonin from [14C]-tryptophan shows a linear increase with time. In the presence of NE (10-5M), the rate of synthesis is increased, albeit after an initial time lag of at least 30 min. The latter may reflect an N-acetyltransferase-independent mechanism of synthesis and release. In static incubations, propranolol (10-5M) inhibited NE-induced melatonin production by about 60%. but prazosin (10-5M) had no effect. As dibutyryl cyclic AMP (10-3M) stimulated melatonin production, it is concluded that ß-receptors are of primary importance to the control of melatonin production, as in the rat. The role of a1-receptors is less clear, but the stimulatory action of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate on melatonin release implicates a receptor linked to phosphatidylinositol turnover.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1988


  • Melatonin synthesis
  • Pineal gland
  • Sheep
  • ß-Receptor
  • Norepinephrine
  • In vitro study


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