The organochlorine insecticide 1,2,3,4,5,6-hexachlorocyclohexane (lindane) but not 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT) augments the nocturnal increase in pineal N-acetyltransferase activity and pineal and serum melatonin levels

A. M. Attia, M. H. Mostafa, S. A. Soliman, A. H. El-Sebae, K. O. Nonaka, B. Withyachumnarnkul, R. J. Reiter

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The effect of organochlorine insecticides lindane (1,2,3,4,5,6-hexachlorocyclohexane) and DDT (1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl)ethane) were studied in terms of their effects on the rat pineal N-acetyltransferase (NAT) activity, hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) activity and pineal and serum melatonin levels during the day (2000h) and at night (2300 and 0100h). Additionally, pineal levels of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), serotonin (5-HT), and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) were estimated. Nocturnal NAT activity was increased after lindane administration; likewise, lindane augmented pineal and serum melatonin levels at 2300h. Conversely, DDT was without a statistically significant effect on either NAT activity or on pineal or serum melatonin levels. Neither lindane nor DDT significantly influenced pineal HIOMT values either during the day or at night. Likewise, neither insecticide consistently influenced pineal levels of either 5-HTP, 5-HT or 5-HIAA. The results indicate that the organochlorine insecticide, lindane, modifies pineal melatonin synthesis in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-680
Number of pages8
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 1990



  • DDT
  • N-acetyltransferase (NAT)
  • Pineal gland
  • hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT)
  • lindane
  • melatonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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