Melatonin: A discussion of its evolution and actions in vertebrates

William A. Gern, David Duvall, Jeanne Nervina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

SYNOPSIS. Melatonin has many actions in vertebrates, with some considered hormonal. But are some melatonin actions more ancient than others? A survey of the tissues which synthesizemelatonin demonstrates that some are more recent vertebrate characters compared to others, indicating that melatonin action in these tissues also is more recent. The lateral eyes and pineal organs appear to be very ancient sources of melatonin and any action this molecule has within these tissues should be considered primordial. We hypothesize that melatonin's first actions (functions) were paracrine, that is, operating within these photoreceptive structures to facilitate the process of photoreception. Such actions have been documented. It is hypothesized that melatonin synthesis occurred at nightwithin the pineal organs and retinas of ancient vertebrates, as is the case among extant vertebrates. Accompanying the nightly synthesis of melatonin for paracrine function, secretion of melatonin either incidental or for detoxification by the liver occurred, providing a faithful template of the onset and/or duration of the scotophase. This nightly pulse of melatonin could provide important timing information to distant tissues capable of receiving the signal. The number of physiological systems within vertebrates "using" thenightly circulating melatonin pulse, and the apparent increased importance of circulating melatonin in timing physiological events in mammals, like reproduction, is the result of recent cooptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-996
Number of pages12
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1986

Fingerprint

melatonin
vertebrates
Melatonin
Vertebrates
event
Timing
Tissue
Synthesis
Retina
Secretion
organs
Faithful
Liver
Template
Lateral
time measurement
Molecules
Detoxification
secretions
mammals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Plant Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Melatonin : A discussion of its evolution and actions in vertebrates. / Gern, William A.; Duvall, David; Nervina, Jeanne.

In: Integrative and Comparative Biology, Vol. 26, No. 4, 1986, p. 985-996.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gern, William A. ; Duvall, David ; Nervina, Jeanne. / Melatonin : A discussion of its evolution and actions in vertebrates. In: Integrative and Comparative Biology. 1986 ; Vol. 26, No. 4. pp. 985-996.
@article{00a84f39758144c6923af250fd4ccb4a,
title = "Melatonin: A discussion of its evolution and actions in vertebrates",
abstract = "SYNOPSIS. Melatonin has many actions in vertebrates, with some considered hormonal. But are some melatonin actions more ancient than others? A survey of the tissues which synthesizemelatonin demonstrates that some are more recent vertebrate characters compared to others, indicating that melatonin action in these tissues also is more recent. The lateral eyes and pineal organs appear to be very ancient sources of melatonin and any action this molecule has within these tissues should be considered primordial. We hypothesize that melatonin's first actions (functions) were paracrine, that is, operating within these photoreceptive structures to facilitate the process of photoreception. Such actions have been documented. It is hypothesized that melatonin synthesis occurred at nightwithin the pineal organs and retinas of ancient vertebrates, as is the case among extant vertebrates. Accompanying the nightly synthesis of melatonin for paracrine function, secretion of melatonin either incidental or for detoxification by the liver occurred, providing a faithful template of the onset and/or duration of the scotophase. This nightly pulse of melatonin could provide important timing information to distant tissues capable of receiving the signal. The number of physiological systems within vertebrates {"}using{"} thenightly circulating melatonin pulse, and the apparent increased importance of circulating melatonin in timing physiological events in mammals, like reproduction, is the result of recent cooptation.",
author = "Gern, {William A.} and David Duvall and Jeanne Nervina",
year = "1986",
doi = "10.1093/icb/26.4.985",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "26",
pages = "985--996",
journal = "American Zoologist",
issn = "1540-7063",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Melatonin

T2 - A discussion of its evolution and actions in vertebrates

AU - Gern, William A.

AU - Duvall, David

AU - Nervina, Jeanne

PY - 1986

Y1 - 1986

N2 - SYNOPSIS. Melatonin has many actions in vertebrates, with some considered hormonal. But are some melatonin actions more ancient than others? A survey of the tissues which synthesizemelatonin demonstrates that some are more recent vertebrate characters compared to others, indicating that melatonin action in these tissues also is more recent. The lateral eyes and pineal organs appear to be very ancient sources of melatonin and any action this molecule has within these tissues should be considered primordial. We hypothesize that melatonin's first actions (functions) were paracrine, that is, operating within these photoreceptive structures to facilitate the process of photoreception. Such actions have been documented. It is hypothesized that melatonin synthesis occurred at nightwithin the pineal organs and retinas of ancient vertebrates, as is the case among extant vertebrates. Accompanying the nightly synthesis of melatonin for paracrine function, secretion of melatonin either incidental or for detoxification by the liver occurred, providing a faithful template of the onset and/or duration of the scotophase. This nightly pulse of melatonin could provide important timing information to distant tissues capable of receiving the signal. The number of physiological systems within vertebrates "using" thenightly circulating melatonin pulse, and the apparent increased importance of circulating melatonin in timing physiological events in mammals, like reproduction, is the result of recent cooptation.

AB - SYNOPSIS. Melatonin has many actions in vertebrates, with some considered hormonal. But are some melatonin actions more ancient than others? A survey of the tissues which synthesizemelatonin demonstrates that some are more recent vertebrate characters compared to others, indicating that melatonin action in these tissues also is more recent. The lateral eyes and pineal organs appear to be very ancient sources of melatonin and any action this molecule has within these tissues should be considered primordial. We hypothesize that melatonin's first actions (functions) were paracrine, that is, operating within these photoreceptive structures to facilitate the process of photoreception. Such actions have been documented. It is hypothesized that melatonin synthesis occurred at nightwithin the pineal organs and retinas of ancient vertebrates, as is the case among extant vertebrates. Accompanying the nightly synthesis of melatonin for paracrine function, secretion of melatonin either incidental or for detoxification by the liver occurred, providing a faithful template of the onset and/or duration of the scotophase. This nightly pulse of melatonin could provide important timing information to distant tissues capable of receiving the signal. The number of physiological systems within vertebrates "using" thenightly circulating melatonin pulse, and the apparent increased importance of circulating melatonin in timing physiological events in mammals, like reproduction, is the result of recent cooptation.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0000816151&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0000816151&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/icb/26.4.985

DO - 10.1093/icb/26.4.985

M3 - Article

VL - 26

SP - 985

EP - 996

JO - American Zoologist

JF - American Zoologist

SN - 1540-7063

IS - 4

ER -