Main content area

Melatonin rhythms in the pineal and non-pineal tissues and their physiological implications in subtropical fish

Maitra, Saumen Kumar, Pal, Palash Kumar
Biological rhythm research 2017 v.48 no.5 pp. 757-776
biosynthesis, blood serum, carp, cattle, free radical scavengers, liver, melatonin, oocytes, pineal body, reproduction, retina
Melatonin (N -acetyl-5-methoxy tryptamine), following discovery from the extracts of bovine pineal gland, has been detected in the pineal as well as several extra-pineal tissues/organs of different vertebrates including fish. The unique feature of melatonin in the pineal gland is its rhythmic biosynthesis and release in blood in synchronization with the environmental light-–dark cycle. Accordingly, melatonin produced in the pineal of an animal living in a changing environment is implicated to the regulation of seasonal reproduction by acting as a hormone at one or more levels of hypothalamo-hypophyseal-gonadal axis. Additionally, melatonin is known to act as a potent free-radical scavenger or antioxidant to influence maturation of oocytes. However, possible relationship between extra-pineal melatonin and seasonality of reproduction in any animal remains enigmatic. Perhaps, carp is the only known animal in which temporal patterns of melatonin levels in the serum as well as in the extracts of pineal, retina, ovary, gut, and liver have been studied in relation to the reproductive events in an annual cycle. The purpose of current review is to bring those fascinating, and arguably most important data together to underline their significance in the control of seasonal reproduction in subtropical fish in general and in carp in particular.