Effects of short-term cold exposure on pineal biosynthetic function in rats

Michael G. Tannenbaum, Russel J. Reiter, Mary K. Vaughan, Maureen E. Troiani, Aldo Gonzalez-Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In light of recent studies demonstrating stress-induced changes in pineal indoleamine metabolism, we tested the effect of acute cold stress on pineal biosynthetic function. Adult male rats were subjected to 30, 60, or 120 min of cold exposure (Ta = 2 °C) during either the light or dark phase of the daily photoperiodic cycle. Controls were kept at room temperature (22 ± 2 °C). Animals were killed by decapitation and pineals were analyzed by radioimmunoassay for melatonin content and by radioenzymeassay for the activity of N-acetyltransferase (NAT). Cold exposure during the day elicited no significant changes in pineal indoleamine metabolism. Exposure to cold for 1 hr during the second hour after lights off slightly increased pineal melatonin content, without a concomitant change in NAT activity. Rats exposed to 2 hr of cold beginning 2 hr after lights off, however, displayed a 50% reduction in NAT activity, whereas pineal melatonin content remained unchanged. The paradoxical response of pineal NAT activity and melatonin content are not uncommon when rats are exposed to adverse stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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