The profile of melatonin production in tumour-bearing rats

Published on Wednesday, 16 March 2016


The pineal gland is involved in the regulation of tumour growth through the anticancer activity of melatonin, which presents immunomodulatory, anti-proliferative and anti-oxidant effects.

In this study we measured melatonin content directly in the pineal gland, in an attempt to clarify the modulation of pineal melatonin secretory activity during tumour growth.

Different groups of Walker 256 carcinosarcoma bearing rats were sacrificed at 12 different time points during 24h (12h:12h light/dark cycle) on different days during the tumour development (on the first, seventh and fourteenth day after tumour inoculation).

Melatonin content in the pineal gland was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection.

During tumour development the amount of melatonin secreted increased from 310.9 ng/mg of protein per day from control animals, to 918.1 ng/mg of protein per day 14 days after tumour implantation, and there were changes in the pineal production profile of melatonin.

Cultured pineal glands obtained from tumour-bearing rats turned out to be less responsive to noradrenaline, suggesting the existence, in vivo, of putative factor(s) modulating pineal melatonin production.

The results demonstrated that during tumour development there is a modification of pineal melatonin production daily profile, possibly contributing to cachexia, associated to changes in pineal gland response to noradrenaline stimulation.



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