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

Possible involvement of neuropeptide Y in the seasonal control of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase activity in the pineal gland of the european hamster (Cricetus cricetus).

Hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) catalyses the last step of all the 5-methoxyindoles synthesized in the pineal gland. The synthetic activity of this neuroendocrine structure is driven not only by noradrenaline but also by various neuropeptides. Recently we have established (1) that one of these neuropeptides, neuropeptide Y ( NPY), stimulates specifically HIOMT activity in rat pinealocytes and (2) that the density of the NPY-immunoreactive (NPY-IR) fibers innervating the pineal gland of the European hamster (Cricetus cricetus) displays seasonal variations with a large increase in the late autumn. These findings have led us to evaluate a possible seasonal control of NPY on the European hamster pineal gland. We thus compared the nycthemeral patterns of pineal HIOMT activity and 5-methoxytryptophol (5-ML) content and of circulating MEL levels in European hamsters when NPYergic innervation is low (end of October) and when it is the highest (mid-December). We report in this study that HIOMT activity is significantly increased by 80% in mid-December compared with end of October. This increase is correlated with the appearance of a nycthemeral rhythm of pineal 5-ML levels (with a fourfold increase occurring in early dawn and decreasing slowly towards the end of the day). These observations suggest that NPY could be an important neurotransmitter involved in the seasonal control of the biochemistry of the European hamster pineal gland via a stimulatory effect on HIOMT activity.[1]


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