The Harderian glands of Syrian hamsters contain melatonin and the enzymes N‐acetyltransferase (NAT) and hydroxyindole‐O‐methyltransferase (HIOMT) which synthesize melatonin from serotonin. Because the Harderian glands share this metabolic pathway with the pineal gland, we examined the effects of short‐day photoperiods, which stimulate pineal‐mediated gonadal regression, and N‐(2,4‐dinitrophenyl)‐5‐methoxytryptamine (ML‐23), which has been described as a melatonin antagonist, on melatonin synthesis in the Harderian glands of the hamster. Harderian glands of male hamsters kept in short days had reduced NAT activity and melatonin concentration, but HIOMT activity was unchanged from that of longday controls. In males kept in short days, ML‐23 restored melatonin concentrations to levels seen in long days but did not affect the short‐day induced reduction in NAT activity. ML‐23 had no effect upon NAT or HIOMT activity or melatonin concentration in male hamsters kept on long days. Harderian glands of female hamsters kept on short days had reduced melatonin concentrations, but NAT and HIOMT activities similar to those of long‐day controls. ML‐23 had no effect on Harderian NAT or HIOMT activities or melatonin concentration in females kept in short days. However, in females kept in long days, ML‐23 treatment led to increased NAT activity and decreased melatonin concentrations. We conclude from these results that short‐day photoperiods alter some aspects of melatonin synthesis in hamster Harderian glands and that these effects differ in males and females. ML‐23 does not usually prevent the effects of short days on Harderian melatonin synthesis, suggesting that it is not a melatonin antagonist in the Syrian hamster.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of pineal research|
|State||Published - Apr 1990|
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