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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Bimodal circadian secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland in a living CBA mouse.

Circadian melatonin secretion is the best-known output signal from the circadian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus that indicates internal conditions of the body. We have established a system that enables long-term monitoring of melatonin secretion by implanting a transverse microdialysis probe in or near the pineal gland in a freely moving mouse. This in vivo method enabled continuous measurement of melatonin secretion over a period of >20 days in individual CBA mice, with simultaneous recording of the locomotor activity. Pineal melatonin secretion was completely matched to the circadian change of locomotor activity, and for the light-induced phase shift, the shift of melatonin secretion was clearer than the shift of locomotor rhythm. This analysis allowed us to detect rhythm with a high sensitivity: two peaks of daily secretion were observed, with the first small peak at the day-night transition time and the second large peak at midnight. The large nighttime peak was suppressed by tetrodotoxin, a Na+ channel blocker, and enhanced by both phenylephrine and isoproterenol, alpha- and beta-adrenergic agonists, whereas daytime melatonin levels were not affected by tetrodotoxin infusion. This finding suggests that, in CBA mice, melatonin release at night is activated by adrenergic signaling from the superior cervical ganglion, but the enhancement of melatonin during daytime is not mediated by neuronal signaling.[1]


  1. Bimodal circadian secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland in a living CBA mouse. Nakahara, D., Nakamura, M., Iigo, M., Okamura, H. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
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