Choroid Plexus Is an Additional Source of Melatonin in the Brain

J Pineal Res. 2018 Nov;65(4):e12528. doi: 10.1111/jpi.12528.


The cerebrospinal fluid melatonin is released from the pineal gland, directly into the third ventricle, or produced de novo in the brain from extrapineal melatonin sources leading to a melatonin concentration gradient in the cerebrospinal fluid. Despite the interest on this topic, the brain areas capable of producing melatonin are not yet clear. Bearing this in mind, we hypothesized that the choroid plexus (CP) could be one of these melatonin sources. We analyzed and confirmed the presence of the four enzymes required for melatonin synthesis in rat CP and demonstrated that arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase shows a circadian expression in female and male rat CP. Specifically, this enzyme colocalizes with mitochondria in rat CP epithelial cells, an organelle known to be involved in melatonin function and synthesis. Then, we demonstrated that melatonin is synthesized by porcine CP explants, although without a circadian pattern. In conclusion, our data show that the CP is a local source of melatonin to the central nervous system, probably contributing to its high levels in the cerebrospinal fluid. We believe that in the CP, melatonin might be regulated by its endogenous clock machinery and by the hormonal background.

Keywords: arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase; cerebrospinal fluid; choroid plexus; melatonin; mitochondria.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / metabolism
  • Choroid Plexus / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Rats


  • Melatonin