Is the melatonin receptor type 1 involved in the pathogenesis of glaucoma?

J Glaucoma. 2013 Jun-Jul;22 Suppl 5(0 5):S49-50. doi: 10.1097/IJG.0b013e3182934bb4.


Melatonin in the mammalian eye is synthesized by the photoreceptors and its levels show a clear daily pattern with high levels at night and lower levels during the day. It is synthesized in the ciliary body and secreted into the aqueous humor with a pattern similar to what has been reported for the retina. It acts by interacting with a family of G-protein coupled receptors that are negatively coupled with adenylate cyclase. Melatonin receptor subtypes MT1 and MT2 have been identified in the retina. Both are found in the inner nuclear layer (horizontal and amacrine cells), in the inner plexiform layer, ganglion cells (RGC) and retinal pigmented epithelium. They are also present in the ciliary body. Several studies implicate melatonin in the rhythmic regulation of intraocular pressure. MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors are expressed in many parts of the eye. Melatonin receptors are expressed in the iris and ciliary body. Recent studies showed that mice lacking MT1 receptors have elevated intraocular pressure during the night and show a significantly reduced number of RGCs. These new studies suggest that dysfunctional melatonin signaling may be considered a possible risk factor in the pathogenesis of glaucoma and that mice deficient in MT1 receptors may be an animal model of glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glaucoma / metabolism*
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Receptor, Melatonin, MT1 / metabolism*


  • Receptor, Melatonin, MT1