Section 10
Chapter 9,009

Melatonin and the circadian clock in mink: Effects of daily injections of melatonin on circadian rhythm of locomotor activity and autoradiographic localization of melatonin binding sites

Bonnefond, C.; Monnerie, R.; Richard, J.P.; Martinet, L.

Journal of Neuroendocrinology 5(3): 241-246


ISSN/ISBN: 0953-8194
PMID: 8318999
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.1993.tb00479.x
Accession: 009008129

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The present study examines a putative effect of exogenous melatonin on the circadian organization of the mink. Two approaches were used to determine first whether entrainment of free-running rhythms of locomotor activity in constant darkness can be obtained by daily melatonin injections, thus demonstrating a control of melatonin on the clock generating circadian rhythms, the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. Entrainment was never obtained in the 8 vehicle-injected females and 7 out of the 8 melatonin injected-ones. In 3 females free-running in constant darkness, a phase advance followed by a few days of transient effect was observed when melatonin injections coincided with the onset of activity. However, the comparison of the regression of the daily activity onset related to successive days by covariance analysis revealed that true entrainment was effective in only 1 female. Second, we examined the distribution of melatonin binding sites within the brain of juvenile and adult mink using an in vitro autoradiographic procedure with [125I]2-iodomelatonin. No binding sites were observed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of any of the animals. However, all animals displayed a high density of melatonin binding sites in the pars tuberalis of the pituitary. The relation between a modulatory control of melatonin on the circadian clock and the presence and density of melatonin binding sites in the clock is discussed. In mink, melatonin does not seem to act as an internal Zeitgeber.

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