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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 715708, 11 pages
Research Article

Adrenergic Activation of Melatonin Secretion in Ovine Pineal Explants in Short-Term Superfusion Culture Occurs via Protein Synthesis Independent and Dependent Phenomena

Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Warmia and Mazury, Oczapowskiego Street 13, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland

Received 4 April 2014; Revised 23 June 2014; Accepted 24 June 2014; Published 15 July 2014

Academic Editor: Gabriel F. Anhe

Copyright © 2014 Bogdan Lewczuk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The ovine pineal is generally considered as an interesting model for the study on adrenergic regulation of melatonin secretion due to some functional similarities with this gland in the human. The present investigations, performed in the superfusion culture of pineal explants, demonstrated that the norepinephrine-induced elevation of melatonin secretion in ovine pinealocytes comprised of two subsequent periods: a rapid increase phase and a slow increase phase. The first one included the quick rise in release of N-acetylserotonin and melatonin, occurring parallel to elevation of NE concentration in the medium surrounding explants. This rapid increase phase was not affected by inhibition of translation. The second, slow increase phase began after NE level had reached the maximum concentration in the culture medium and lasted about two hours. It was completely abolished by the treatment with translation inhibitors. The obtained results showed for the first time that the regulation of N-acetylserotonin synthesis in pinealocytes of some species like the sheep involves the on/off mechanism, which is completely independent of protein synthesis and works very fast. They provided strong evidence pointing to the need of revision of the current opinion that arylalkylamines N-acetyltransferase activity in pinealocytes is controlled exclusively by changes in enzyme abundance.