Chronic treatment with dexamethasone alters clock gene expression and melatonin synthesis in rat pineal gland at night.
ABSTRACT: Background:Melatonin is a neuroendocrine hormone that regulates many functions involving energy metabolism and behavior in mammals throughout the light/dark cycle. It is considered an output signal of the central circadian clock, located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. Melatonin synthesis can be influenced by other hormones, such as insulin and glucocorticoids in pathological conditions or during stress. Furthermore, glucocorticoids appear to modulate circadian clock genes in peripheral tissues and are associated with the onset of metabolic diseases. In the pineal gland, the modulation of melatonin synthesis by clock genes has already been demonstrated. However, few studies have shown the effects of glucocorticoids on clock genes expression in the pineal gland. Results:We verified that rats treated with dexamethasone (2 mg/kg body weight, intraperitoneal) for 10 consecutive days, showed hyperglycemia and pronounced hyperinsulinemia during the dark phase. Insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, melatonin synthesis, and enzymatic activity of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase, the key enzyme of melatonin synthesis, were reduced. Furthermore, we observed an increase in the expression of Bmal1, Per1, Per2, Cry1, and Cry2 in pineal glands of rats treated with dexamethasone. Conclusion:These results show that chronic treatment with dexamethasone can modulate both melatonin synthesis and circadian clock expression during the dark phase.
Project description:In mammals, light information received by the eyes is transmitted to the pineal gland via the circadian pacemaker, i.e., the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Melatonin secreted by the pineal gland at night decodes night length and regulates seasonal physiology and behavior. Melatonin regulates the expression of the ?-subunit of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH; Tshb) in the pars tuberalis (PT) of the pituitary gland. Long day-induced PT TSH acts on ependymal cells in the mediobasal hypothalamus to induce the expression of type 2 deiodinase (Dio2) and reduce type 3 deiodinase (Dio3) that are thyroid hormone-activating and hormone-inactivating enzymes, respectively. The long day-activated thyroid hormone T3 regulates seasonal gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion. It is well established that the circadian clock is involved in the regulation of photoperiodism. However, the involvement of the circadian clock gene in photoperiodism regulation remains unclear. Although mice are generally considered non-seasonal animals, it was recently demonstrated that mice are a good model for the study of photoperiodism. In the present study, therefore, we examined the effect of changing day length in Per2 deletion mutant mice that show shorter wheel-running rhythms under constant darkness followed by arhythmicity. Although the amplitude of clock gene (Per1, Cry1) expression was greatly attenuated in the SCN, the expression profile of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase, a rate-limiting melatonin synthesis enzyme, was unaffected in the pineal gland, and robust photoperiodic responses of the Tshb, Dio2, and Dio3 genes were observed. These results suggested that the Per2 clock gene is not necessary for the photoperiodic response in mice.
Project description:The master circadian clock in fish has been considered to reside in the pineal gland. This dogma is challenged, however, by the finding that most zebrafish tissues contain molecular clocks that are directly reset by light. To further examine the role of the pineal gland oscillator in the zebrafish circadian system, we generated a transgenic line in which the molecular clock is selectively blocked in the melatonin-producing cells of the pineal gland by a dominant-negative strategy. As a result, clock-controlled rhythms of melatonin production in the adult pineal gland were disrupted. Moreover, transcriptome analysis revealed that the circadian expression pattern of the majority of clock-controlled genes in the adult pineal gland is abolished. Importantly, circadian rhythms of behavior in zebrafish larvae were affected: rhythms of place preference under constant darkness were eliminated, and rhythms of locomotor activity under constant dark and constant dim light conditions were markedly attenuated. On the other hand, global peripheral molecular oscillators, as measured in whole larvae, were unaffected in this model. In conclusion, characterization of this novel transgenic model provides evidence that the molecular clock in the melatonin-producing cells of the pineal gland plays a key role, possibly as part of a multiple pacemaker system, in modulating circadian rhythms of behavior.
Project description:Biliary hyperplasia and liver fibrosis are common features in cholestatic liver disease. Melatonin is synthesized by the pineal gland as well as the liver. Melatonin inhibits biliary hyperplasia of bile duct-ligated (BDL) rats. Since melatonin synthesis (by the enzyme serotonin N-acetyltransferase, AANAT) from the pineal gland increases after dark exposure, we hypothesized that biliary hyperplasia and liver fibrosis are diminished by continuous darkness via increased melatonin synthesis from the pineal gland. Normal or BDL rats (immediately after surgery) were housed with light-dark cycles or complete dark for 1 wk before evaluation of 1) the expression of AANAT in the pineal gland and melatonin levels in pineal gland tissue supernatants and serum; 2) biliary proliferation and intrahepatic bile duct mass, liver histology, and serum chemistry; 3) secretin-stimulated ductal secretion (functional index of biliary growth); 4) collagen deposition, liver fibrosis markers in liver sections, total liver, and cholangiocytes; and 5) expression of clock genes in cholangiocytes. In BDL rats exposed to dark there was 1) enhanced AANAT expression/melatonin secretion in pineal gland and melatonin serum levels; 2) improved liver morphology, serum chemistry and decreased biliary proliferation and secretin-stimulated choleresis; and 4) decreased fibrosis and expression of fibrosis markers in liver sections, total liver and cholangiocytes and reduced biliary expression of the clock genes PER1, BMAL1, CLOCK, and Cry1. Thus prolonged dark exposure may be a beneficial noninvasive therapeutic approach for the management of biliary disorders.
Project description:Melatonin and glucocorticoids are key hormones in determining daily rhythmicity and modulating defense responses. In nocturnal animals, corticosterone peaks at light/dark transition,while melatonin peaks at the middle of the night in both nocturnal and diurnal animals. The crosstalk between adrenal and pineal glands under inflammatory conditions indicates that corticosterone potentiates nocturnal melatonin synthesis by reducing the activity of NF?B. This transcription factor, which modulates the expression of a key enzyme in melatonin synthesis, is sharply reduced at the entrance of darkness in the rat pineal gland. In this study, we established the basis for understanding the crosstalk between adrenal and pineal glands in physiological conditions. Here we show that the expression of 70 out of 84 genes implied in defense responses exhibit a sharp reduction exactly at the entrance of darkness. Mifepristone impair the changes of 13 out of 84 genes, suggesting that the rhythm of corticosterone modulates pineal phenotype, as mifepristone also reduces the expression of Aanat and the nocturnal synthesis of melatonin. Therefore, darkness-induced synthesis of the pineal hormone, besides being controlled by the central clock located in the hypothalamus, is also influencedby glucocorticoids through the regulation of NF?B transcriptional program.
Project description:Melatonin, N-acetyl-5-methoxy-tryptamine, was discovered to be a product of serotonin metabolism in the mammalian pineal gland where its synthesis is under control of the light:dark cycle. Besides its regulatory pathway involving ganglion cells in the retina, the neural connections between the eyes and the pineal gland include the master circadian clock, the suprachiasmatic nuclei, and the central and peripheral nervous systems. Since pineal melatonin is released into the blood and into the cerebrospinal fluid, it has access to every cell in an organism and it mediates system-wide effects. Subsequently, melatonin was found in several extrapineal organs and, more recently, perhaps in every cell of every organ. In contrast to the pinealocytes, non-pineal cells do not discharge melatonin into the blood; rather it is used locally in an intracrine, autocrine, or paracrine manner. Melatonin levels in non-pineal cells do not exhibit a circadian rhythm and do not depend on circulating melatonin concentrations although when animals are treated with exogenous melatonin it is taken up by presumably all cells. Mitochondria are the presumed site of melatonin synthesis in all cells; the enzymatic machinery for melatonin synthesis has been identified in mitochondria. The association of melatonin with mitochondria, because of its ability to inhibit oxidative stress, is very fortuitous since these organelles are a major site of damaging reactive oxygen species generation. In this review, some of the actions of non-pineal-derived melatonin are discussed in terms of cellular and subcellular physiology.
Project description:Melatonin receptor gene expression as well as melatonin synthesis and secretion activities were examined in the pineal gland of the grass puffer, which exhibits unique lunar/tidal cycle-synchronized mass spawing: spawning occurs before high tide on the day of spring tide during spawing season. Melatonin synthesizing activity was assessed by the abundance of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase 2 (AANAT2) mRNA. The amount of aanat2 mRNA was low during light phase and initiated to increase after the light was turned off. The secretion of melatonin from primary pineal organ culture was stimulated after the light was turned off and ceased immediately after the light was turned on. The expression levels of four melatonin receptor subtype genes (mel 1a 1.4, mel 1a 1.7, mel1b, and mel1c) showed synchronous variations, and the levels tended to be high during the dark phase under light/dark conditions. These results suggest that the action of melatonin on the pineal gland is highly dependent on light and photoperiod, possibly with stronger action during night time. Under constant darkness, the expression of four melatonin receptor subtype genes showed unique ultradian oscillations with the period of 14.0-15.4 h, suggesting the presence of a circatidal oscillator in the pineal gland. The present results indicate that melatonin may serve local chronobiological functions in the pineal gland. These cyclic expressions of melatonin receptor genes in the pineal gland may be important in the control of the lunar/tidal cycle-synchronized mass spawning in the grass puffer.
Project description:Melatonin, a neuroendocrine hormone synthesized by the pineal gland and cholangiocytes, decreases biliary hyperplasia and liver fibrosis during cholestasis-induced biliary injury via melatonin-dependent autocrine signaling through increased biliary arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) expression and melatonin secretion, downregulation of miR-200b and specific circadian clock genes. Melatonin synthesis is decreased by pinealectomy (PINX) or chronic exposure to light. We evaluated the effect of PINX or prolonged light exposure on melatonin-dependent modulation of biliary damage/ductular reaction/liver fibrosis. Studies were performed in male rats with/without BDL for 1?week with 12:12?h dark/light cycles, continuous light or after 1?week of PINX. The expression of AANAT and melatonin levels in serum and cholangiocyte supernatant were increased in BDL rats, while decreased in BDL rats following PINX or continuous light exposure. BDL-induced increase in serum chemistry, ductular reaction, liver fibrosis, inflammation, angiogenesis and ROS generation were significantly enhanced by PINX or light exposure. Concomitant with enhanced liver fibrosis, we observed increased biliary senescence and enhanced clock genes and miR-200b expression in total liver and cholangiocytes. In vitro, the expression of AANAT, clock genes and miR-200b was increased in PSC human cholangiocyte cell lines (hPSCL). The proliferation and activation of HHStecs (human hepatic stellate cell lines) were increased after stimulating with BDL cholangiocyte supernatant and further enhanced when stimulated with BDL rats following PINX or continuous light exposure cholangiocyte supernatant via intracellular ROS generation. Conclusion: Melatonin plays an important role in the protection of liver against cholestasis-induced damage and ductular reaction.
Project description:Most laboratory mouse strains including C57BL/6J do not produce detectable levels of pineal melatonin owing to deficits in enzymatic activity of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) and N-acetylserotonin O-methyl transferase (ASMT), two enzymes necessary for melatonin biosynthesis. Here we report that alleles segregating at these two loci in C3H/HeJ mice, an inbred strain producing melatonin, suppress the circadian period-lengthening effect of the Clock mutation. Through a functional mapping approach, we localize mouse Asmt to chromosome X and show that it, and the Aanat locus on chromosome 11, are significantly associated with pineal melatonin levels. Treatment of suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) explant cultures from Period2(Luciferase) (Per2(Luc)) Clock/+ reporter mice with melatonin, or the melatonin agonist, ramelteon, phenocopies the genetic suppression of the Clock mutant phenotype observed in living animals. These results demonstrate that melatonin suppresses the Clock/+ mutant phenotype and interacts with Clock to affect the mammalian circadian system.
Project description:In patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), impairments of circadian rhythms, including the sleep-wake cycle, blood pressure, and plasma melatonin concentrations, are frequently observed. Animal models of DM are also reported to show aberrant circadian rhythms. However, the changes in the circadian rhythms of plasma soluble substances, including melatonin, in diabetic animals are controversial. In the present study, we investigated the circadian rhythms of spontaneous locomotor activity, metabolic parameters (plasma glucose, triglyceride, and total cholesterol), and plasma melatonin concentrations in Spontaneously Diabetic Torii (SDT) fatty rats, a novel animal model of type 2 DM. Although SDT fatty rats exhibited low locomotor activity in the dark phase, no phase shifts were observed. The circadian variations of plasma metabolic parameters were more apparent in the SDT fatty rats compared with control Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. The circadian rhythms of plasma melatonin concentrations were significantly impaired in SDT fatty rats. To get an insight into the mechanism underlying the impaired melatonin secretion in SDT fatty rats, the expression of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (Aanat) and acetylserotonin O-methyltransferase (Asmt) mRNA, which encode the rate-limiting enzymes for melatonin synthesis, was investigated in the pineal gland. There were no significant differences in Aanat and Asmt expression between the control SD and SDT fatty rats. These results suggest that SDT fatty rats show impaired circadian rhythms and dysregulated melatonin secretion.
Project description:The zebrafish pineal gland (epiphysis) is an autonomous clock organ. In addition to being a site of melatonin production, it contains photoreceptor cells and functions as a circadian clock pace maker, making zebrafish a useful model system to study the developmental control of expression of genes associated with melatonin synthesis and photodetection, and the circadian clock. Here we have used DNA microarray technology to study the zebrafish pineal transcriptome. Analysis of gene expression at five different developmental stages (three embryonic and two adult) has revealed a highly dynamic transcriptional profile, revealing many genes that are highly expressed in the pineal gland. Statistical analysis of the data based on Gene Ontology (GO) annotation indicates that many transcription factors and cell cycle genes are highly expressed during embryonic stages, whereas genes dedicated to visual system signal transduction are preferentially expressed in the adult. Furthermore, several genes were identified that exhibit day/night differences in expression. Our data provide a rich source of candidate genes for distinct functions at different stages of pineal gland development. Experiment Overall Design: Adults and embryos were kept under a 14-hr-light/10-hr-dark cycle. Pineal glands were isolated manually, guided by GFP fluorescence, from embryonic (3d, 5d, and 10d) and adult (3 month and 1-2 yr) transgenic zebrafish in which expression of the GFP gene is driven by the pineal-specific aanat2 promoter. For comparison, brain tissue from which the pineal gland and eyes had been removed was also collected (referred to as “brain”). Altogether, we collected 20 types of samples: five time points (3d, 5d, 10d, 3 mo, and 1-2 yr), two organs (pineal gland and brain), and two sampling times (day and night). For each type of sample, tissue was obtained and processed three to five times. Total RNA was prepared from each sample using the RNeasy Lipid Tissue Mini Kit (Qiagen) and biotin-labeled cDNA was generated using the Ovation Biotin system kit (NeuGen). The Affymetrix GeneChip® Zebrafish Genome Array was hybridized and processed using the standard Affymetrix protocol.