Adrenoceptor expression and diurnal rhythms of melatonin and its precursors in the pineal gland of type 2 diabetic goto-kakizaki rats

Endocrinology. 2010 Jun;151(6):2483-93. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-1299. Epub 2010 Apr 6.


A decrease in the nighttime release of the pineal hormone melatonin is associated with aging and chronic diseases in animals an humans. Melatonin has a protective role in type 2 diabetes; however, its synthesis itself is affected in the disease. The aim of this study was to detect crucially impaired steps in the pineal melatonin synthesis of type 2 diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats. Therefore, plasma melatonin concentrations and the pineal content of melatonin and its precursors (tryptophan, 5-hydroxytryptophan, serotonin, and N-acetylserotonin) were quantified in GK rats compared with Wistar rats (each group 8 and 50 wk old) in a diurnal manner (four animals per group and per time point). Additionally, the expression of pineal adrenoceptor subtype mRNA was investigated. We found that in diabetic GK rats, 1) inhibitory alpha-2-adrenoceptors are significantly more strongly expressed than in Wistar rats, 2) the formation of 5-hydroxytryptophan is crucially impaired, and 3) the pineal gland protein content is significantly reduced compared with that in Wistar rats. This is the first time that melatonin synthesis is examined in a type 2 diabetic rat model in a diurnal manner. The present data unveil several reasons for a reduced melatonin secretion in diabetic animals and present an important link in the interaction between melatonin and insulin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Pineal Gland / metabolism*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tryptophan / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Tryptophan
  • Melatonin