BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH ELSEVIER BehaviouralBrain Research73 (1996) 141-147 Margarita L. Dubocovich *, Susan Benloucif, Monica I. Masana Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry ($215), Northwestern University Medical School, 303 East Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 USA Keywords: Circadian rhythms; Melatonin; Light; C3H/HeNmouse;c-fos mRNA;Phase shift; Suprachiasmatic nucleus 1. Introduction The hormone melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) transduces photoperiodic information and is involved in the regulation of biological rhythms. It is believed to entrain and synchronize circadian rhythms through activation of melatonin receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, the site of the mammalian circadian pacemaker. In humans, melatonin administration is effective in the treatment of sleep disorders characterized by alterations in circadian rhythmicity. Melatonin is synthesized from serotonin, primarily in the pineal gland, by the sequential action of the enzymes, serotonin N-acetyltransferase and 5-hydroxy-indole-Omethyltransferase . The circadian production of melatonin from the mammalian pineal gland is endogenously controlled by the hypothalamic SCN and is synchronized by environmental light [40,41]. The levels of pineal and circulating melatonin are high during the hours of darkness in a light-dark cycle or during the subjective night in constant dark [40,54,71]. The neuroanatomical pathways of the circadian timing system involved in the circadian regulation
Behavioural Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: Dec 15, 1995
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