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Type: Journal article
Title: Light, neurotransmitters and the suprachiasmatic nucleus control of pineal melatonin production in the rat
Author: Kennaway, D.
Citation: NeuroSignals, 1997; 6(4-6):247-254
Publisher: KARGER
Issue Date: 1997
ISSN: 1424-8638
Abstract: There is considerable interest in the neuronal pathways involved in the generation and entrainment of circadian rhythms. We have monitored the output of the pineal gland via the urinary metabolite of melatonin, 6-sulphatoxymelatonin (aMT.6S), following drug treatment to provide information on the transmitters mediating the effects of light. As a check on the specificity of the response [suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) versus direct pineal effects] we also monitored in separate experiments c-Fos induction in the SCN in response to the treatments. Administration of the excitatory amino acid (EAA) antagonist MK-801 (3 mg/kg) failed to inhibit either the acute or entraining effects of light on melatonin production and only partially (approximately 30%) prevented the induction of c-Fos in the SCN. These results suggested that EAA are either not important in mediating the effects of light in the rat or that pathways utilising transmitters other than EAA may be involved. When the non-specific serotonin agonist quipazine was administered at CT 18, it mimicked both the acute and phase delaying effects of light on melatonin secretion and induced c-Fos in the SCN with a regional distribution identical to that observed following light treatment. Characterisation of the receptor subtypes involved in this response implicated the 5HT2c receptor on the basis of the response to (+/-)-1-(4-iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-2-aminopropane HCl (DOI, 0.1-0.5 mg/kg) and the potent antagonism by ritanserin and ketanserin. DOI (0.5 mg/kg) also induced c-Fos in the SCN and the induction was prevented by ritanserin and ketanserin. Despite the potency of 5HT2c agonists in mimicking light effects on melatonin rhythmicity, at the time of preparation we have not been able to block the effects of 2-1x/1-min light pulses on the melatonin rhythm with either metergoline (15 mg/kg), ritanserin (3 mg/kg) or ketanserin (3 mg/kg). Similarly ritanserin (10 mg/kg) failed to block light-induced c-Fos induction in the SCN. We conclude that in the rat there may be two pathways mediating the effects of light on rhythmicity, one being the retino-hypothalamic tract (RHT) utilising excitatory amino acids and the other a retino-raphe-SCN pathway utilising 5HT2c receptors. These conclusions stand in stark contrast to the situation in the hamster where the RHT is paramount in the transmission of light to the SCN.
Keywords: Pineal Gland
Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
Neurotransmitter Agents
Models, Biological
DOI: 10.1159/000109135
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