Melatonin: reproductive effects.

R. J. Reiter, M. D. Rollag, E. S. Panke, A. F. Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, melatonin, is synthesized within and secreted from the pineal gland. Although the concentration of this constituent in the blood is diminished after surgical removal of the pineal gland it does not completely disappear. Other potential contributors to blood titers of melatonin include the retinas, the Harderian glands and the gastro-intestinal tract. Melatonin has a potent antigonadotrophic action in the Syrian hamster ( a highly photosensitive species) provided the indole is given during a restricted portion of the light phase of the light-dark cycle. This so-called sensitive period falls late in the light phase; melatonin acutely administered at other times has virtually no inhibitory influence on the reproductive physiology of hamsters. When melatonin is continuously available (from a subcutaneous deposit) it counteracts the antigonadotrophic influence of the pineal gland in light restricted or blinded hamsters, i.e., it causes a "functional pinealectomy". Furthermore, chronically available melatonin negates the antigonadotrophic capability of acute melatonin injections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission, Supplement
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 1 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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