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Melatonin Signaling

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In mammals, the circadian system is comprised of three major components: the lateral eyes, the hypothalamic SCN (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus) and the pineal gland. The SCN harbours the endogenous oscillator that is entrained everyday to the ambient lighting conditions via retinal input. Among the many circadian rhythms in the body that are driven by SCN output, the synthesis of Melatonin (N-Acetyl-5 Methoxy-Tryptamine) in the pineal gland functions as a hormonal message encoding for the duration of darkness. Melatonin  is a hormone secreted mainly by the pineal gland or epiphysis; it is also produced, but in much smaller quantities, by the retina. Melatonin is produced nocturnally, and is a neurochemical representation of time. Dissemination of this circadian information relies on the activation of Melatonin receptors, which are most [...]


1.[Melatonin: what for?]
Touitou Y.
Bull Acad Natl Med. 2005 May;189(5):879-89; discussion 889-91. Review.
2.Gene regulation by melatonin.
Carlberg C.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000;917:387-96. Review.
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