Immunohistochemical Assessment of Melatonin Binding in the Pineal Gland
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Melatonin binding in the pineal gland of albino rats is estimated using an immunohistochemical procedure. Binding is saturable, has relatively high affinity (Apparent KD = 2.7 nM), and competition studies indicate binding of indoleamines possessing an N-acetyl group on the terminus of the side chain (N-acetylserotonin and melatonin). These data are consistent with the interpretation that immunohistochemically determined melatonin in unfixed pineal tissue is assessing binding of N-acetylated indolealkylamines to pineal cell components. In albino rats maintained on 12-hour light: 12-hour dark cycles, melatonin binding exhibits a diurnal rhythm with low levels of saturation (30%) early in the light and saturation by endogenous melatonin near the onset of darkness. An annual rhythm of melatonin binding was observed in albino rats with low levels during the summer and high levels during the winter. Other rats were maintained on 12-hour light:dark cycles and fed for 2 hours either early in the light period or early in the dark period. For both morning- and evening-fed animals, melatonin binding was high prior to feeding and dropped immediately after feeding. Changes in melatonin binding that occur in response to alterations of feeding and time of year suggest the possibility that this binding reflects a functional site for melatonin.
has subject area