Melatonin receptors: Current status, facts, and hypotheses

Bojidar Stankov, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Great progress has been made in the identification of melatonin binding sites, commonly identified as melatonin receptors by many authors, in recent years. The bulk of these studies have investigated the sites using either autoradiographic and biochemical techniques with the majority of the experiments being done on the rat, Djungarian and Syrian hamster, and sheep, although human tissue has also been employed. Many of the studies have identified melatonin binding in the central nervous system with either tritium- or iodine-labelled ligands. The latter ligand seems to provide the most reproducible and consistent data. Of the central neural tissues exmained, the suparchiasmatic nuclei are most frequently mentioned as a location for melatonin binding sites although binding seems to be widespread in the brain. The other tissue that has been prominently mentioned as a site for melatonin binding is the pars tuberalis of the anterior pituitary gland. There may be time-dependent variations in melatonin binding densities in both neural and pituitary gland tissue. Very few attempts have been made to identify melatonin binding outside of the central nervous system despite the widespread actions of melatonin. Preliminary experiments have been carried out on the intracellular second messengers which mediate the actions of melatonin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-982
Number of pages12
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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