Pinealectomy reduces melatonin levels in the serum but not in the gastrointestinal tract of rats.
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Melatonin levels were determined in serum and gastrointestinal tract (GIT) tissues of control (C), sham-pinelaectomized (SPx) and pinealectomized (Px) rats sacrificed in mid scotophase. Serum melatonin concentrations of Px rats exhibited the significantly lowest values (8.6 pg/ml), followed by SPx (20.1 pg/ml) and C (37.5 pg/ml) rats. In C, the ileum (542 pg/ml) and jejunum (531 pg/ml) exhibited the highest average GIT concentrations, followed by the colon (362 pg/ml), stomach (359 pg/ml) and cecum (164 pg/ml). However, only jejunum and ileum samples had significantly higher melatonin levels than cecum samples. There were no major differences between GIT melatonin levels in Px and C rats (range: 169-247 pg/ml). Statistically, pinealectomy did not influence melatonin levels in the GIT of rats. The findings support the hypothesis that melatonin concentrations in the tissues of the GIT are independent of pineal production.
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