The Role of Light and Age in Determining Melatonin Production in the Pineal Gland

  • Russel J. Reiter
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 65)

Abstract

Roughly two decades ago it was discovered that the photo-periodic environment to which animals are exposed determines the structure (Quay, 1956) and metabolism (Quay, 1963; Wurtman et al., 1963) of the mammalian pineal gland. Shortly thereafter, it was uncovered that the ability of the pineal to influence the reproductive system also depended on the photoperiod (Czyba et al., 1964; Hoffman and Reiter, 1965). This series of experiments provided not only an impetus for research on the pineal gland but also a renewed interest in the impact of light and darkness on the organism. In the intervening years the enthusiasm was translated into investigations that have definitively shown that the daily light:dark cycle provides the primary regulatory influence on the pineal gland. When the role of the photoperiod is discussed relative to the pineal, typically, indoleamine synthesis is considered (Cardinali, 1981) along with the hormonal effects of the pineal gland on the neuroendocrine-reproductive axis (Reiter, 1980). It is the purpose of the present survey to summarize the influence of light and darkness on indole metabolism within the pineal gland. Additionally, the resume will consider age of the organism as a factor in determining pineal melatonin production.

Keywords

Pineal Gland Ground Squirrel Syrian Hamster Melatonin Level Melatonin Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russel J. Reiter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyThe University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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