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Melatonin effects on gut motility are independent of the relaxation mediated by the nitrergic system in the goldfish

Velarde, Elena, Alonso-Gómez, Ángel Luis, Azpeleta, Clara, Isorna, Esther, De Pedro, Nuria, Delgado, María Jesús
Comparative biochemistry and physiology 2011 v.159 no.4 pp. 367-371
arginine, gastrointestinal motility, goldfish, intestines, melatonin, models, nitric oxide, nitric oxide synthase, nitroprusside, smooth muscle
Melatonin is a key neuroendocrine transducer in the circadian organization of vertebrates. However, its role in gastrointestinal physiology has not been explored in depth. In goldfish, a role for melatonin as a modulator of intestinal motility has been reported, whereby it attenuates the cholinergic contraction. The aim of the present work was to investigate this relaxation induced by melatonin in the gut smooth muscle of the goldfish, studying the possible involvement of nitric oxide. An in vitro model of isolated goldfish intestine was used to test the effects on intestinal motility. The addition of melatonin (10pM–100μM) to the organ bath relaxed acetylcholine- and serotonin-stimulated gut strips, but no effect was observed on KCl-contracted preparations. The addition of L-NAME (nitric oxide synthase inhibitor) increased the amplitude of the spontaneous slow waves, while sodium nitroprusside (SNP, nitric oxide donor) abolished them. All these results support a role for the nitrergic system in goldfish gut motility. However, neither L-NAME, nor SNP nor the nitric oxide precursor, l-arginine, modified the melatonin relaxing effect. These results highlight the existence of a basal nitrergic tone in the gut of goldfish, where melatonin would exert a calcium-dependent, nitric oxide-independent relaxing effect on serotonergic and cholinergic contraction.