The circadian production of melatonin by the pineal gland during the night provides an inhibitory signal to tissue-isolated steroid receptor SR+ and - MCF-7 human breast cancer xenografts in female nude rats. A pivotal mechanism for melatonin's anticancer effects in vivo involves a melatonin receptor-mediated inhibition of linoleic acid (LA) uptake and its metabolism to mitogenically active 13-hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid (13-HODE). Exposure of (SR-) xenograft-bearing rats to increasing intensities of polychromatic white light at night suppresses melatonin while increasing tumor growth rates, DNA content, [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA, LA uptake, 13-HODE formation, cAMP levels and ERK1/2 activation a dose-dependent manner. Similar effects occur in SR- human breast cancer xenografts perfused in situ with melatonin-depleted blood from healthy female subjects after their exposure to a single bright intensity (2800 lux) of polychromatic light at night. Additionally, SR- human breast cancer xenografts exhibit robust circadian rhythms of LA uptake, 13-HODE formation and proliferative activity. Exposure of xenograft-bearing rats to dim light at night results in the complete elimination of these rhythms which culminates in unfettered, high rates of tumor metabolism and growth. The organization of tumor metabolism and growth within circadian time structure by the oncostatic melatonin signal helps create a balance between the cancer and its host that is disrupted by host exposure to light at night. This biological mechanism may partially explain the higher risk of breast and other cancers in women working rotating night shifts and possibly others who also experience prolonged exposure to light at night.
"In humans, decreased melatonin levels are found in patients with Alzheimer's disease (Liu et al., 1999; Mishima et al., 1999), age-related macular degeneration (Rosen et al., 2009); or autism spectrum disorders (Melke et al., 2008; Nir et al., 1995; Tordjman et al., 2005). In addition, disrupted melatonin production in shift workers is considered a risk factor for increased breast cancer rates (Blask et al., 2009). It is therefore critical to define the key step of melatonin synthesis in vivo. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pineal gland is a neuroendocrine organ of the brain. Its main task is to synthesize and secrete melatonin, a nocturnal hormone with diverse physiological functions. This review will focus on the central and pineal mechanisms in generation of mammalian pineal rhythmicity including melatonin production. In particular, this review covers the following topics: (1) local control of serotonin and melatonin rhythms; (2) neurotransmitters involved in central control of melatonin; (3) plasticity of the neural circuit controlling melatonin production; (4) role of clock genes in melatonin formation; (5) phase control of pineal rhythmicity; (6) impact of light at night on pineal rhythms; and (7) physiological function of the pineal rhythmicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toxins that pass through the blood-brain barrier put neurons and glia in peril. The damage inflicted is usually a consequence of the ability of these toxic agents to induce free radical generation within cells but especially at the level of the mitochondria. The elevated production of oxygen and nitrogen-based radicals and related non-radical products leads to the oxidation of essential macromolecules including lipids, proteins and DNA. The resultant damage is referred to as oxidative and nitrosative stress and, when the molecular destruction is sufficiently severe, it causes apoptosis or necrosis of neurons and glia. Loss of brain cells compromises the functions of the central nervous system expressed as motor, sensory and cognitive deficits and psychological alterations. In this survey we summarize the publications related to the following neurotoxins and the protective actions of melatonin: aminolevulinic acid, cyanide, domoic acid, kainic acid, metals, methamphetamine, polychlorinated biphenyls, rotenone, toluene and 6-hydroxydopamine. Given the potent direct free radical scavenging activities of melatonin and its metabolites, their ability to indirectly stimulate antioxidative enzymes and their efficacy in reducing electron leakage from mitochondria, it would be expected that these molecules would protect the brain from oxidative and nitrosative molecular mutilation. The studies summarized in this review indicate that this is indeed the case, an action that is obviously assisted by the fact that melatonin readily crosses the blood brain barrier.
DNA research: an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes 09/2010; 8(3):194-210. DOI:10.2174/157015910792246236 · 3.05 Impact Factor
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