Melatonin Inhibits In Vitro Serotonergic Phase Shifts of the Suprachiasmatic Circadian Clock
The suprachiasmatic (SCN) circadian pacemaker generates 24 h rhythms of spontaneous neuronal activity when isolated in an acute brain slice preparation. The isolated pacemaker also retains its capacity to be reset, or phase-shifted by exogenous stimuli. For example, serotonin (5-HT) agonists advance the SCN pacemaker when applied during mid subjective day, while neuropeptide Y (NPY) agonists and melatonin advance the pacemaker when applied during late subjective day. Previous work has demonstrated interactions between NPY and 5-HT agonists, such that NPY can block 5-HTergic phase advances, while 5-HT agonists do not prevent NPY-induced advances. Due to a number of similarities in the actions of melatonin and NPY in the SCN, it seemed possible that melatonin and 5-HT might interact in the SCN as well. Therefore, in this study potential interactions between melatonin and 5-HT agonists were explored. Melatonin inhibited phase advances by the 5-HT agonist, (+)DPAT, and this inhibition was decreased by co-application of tetrodotoxin. Conversely, melatonin was unable to block phase advances by the cyclic AMP analog, 8BA-cAMP. Finally, neither 5-HT agonists nor 8BA-AMP were able to block melatonin-induced phase advances. These results demonstrate a clear interaction between melatonin and 5-HT in the SCN, and suggest that melatonin and NPY may play similar roles with respect to modulating the phase of the SCN circadian pacemaker in rats.
Rebecca A. Prosser, Melatonin inhibits in vitro serotonergic phase shifts of the suprachiasmatic circadian clock, Brain Research, Volume 818, Issue 2, 13 February 1999, Pages 408-413, ISSN 0006-8993, DOI: 10.1016/S0006-8993(98)01295-5. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6SYR-3VR1297-V/2/0a353dc928c1f6172fba6be670735f78)