Pineal gland is an important organ for the regulation of the bio-clock in all vertebrate species. Its major secretory product is melatonin which is considered as the chemical expression of darkness due to its circadian peak exclusively at night. Pineal melatonin can be either released into the blood stream or directly enter into the CSF of the third ventricle via the pineal recess. We have hypothesized that rather than the peripheral circulatory melatonin circadian rhythm serving as the light/dark signal, it is the melatonin rhythm in CSF of the third ventricle that serves this purpose. This is due to the fact that melatonin circadian rhythm in the CSF is more robust in terms of its extremely high concentration and its precise on/off peaks. Thus, extrapineal-generated melatonin or diet-derived melatonin which enters blood would not interfere with the bio-clock function of vertebrates. In addition, based on the relationship of the pineal gland to the CSF and the vascular structure of this gland, we also hypothesize that pineal gland is an essential player for CSF production. We feel it participates in both the formation and reabsorption of CSF. The mechanisms associated with these processes are reviewed and discussed in this brief review.
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