Effect of melatonin on salt gland and kidney function of gulls, Larus glaucescens.

Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada. <>
General and Comparative Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 2.67). 06/2007; 151(3):300-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2007.01.017
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined effects of exogenous melatonin on osmoregulatory hormones and water and sodium secretion by salt glands and excretion via the kidneys of Glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens). Six saline acclimated gulls were injected with inulin and paraminohippuric acid and then infused with 500 mM NaCl to stimulate salt gland secretion. Each bird was given infusions of NaCl alone and NaCl plus melatonin. Experiments were made one week apart in a randomized order. A large blood sample (to measure osmoregulatory hormones) was taken before infusion, at secretion, and at the end of infusion. A small blood sample was taken at the midpoint of each of six 10 min sequential collections of salt gland secretion and urine. Melatonin tended to increase plasma sodium concentration, did decrease plasma osmolality, but did not affect potassium concentration. Melatonin did not affect salt gland secretion rate or concentration nor renal plasma flow or glomerular filtration. Melatonin increased urine flow rate, tended to increase urine sodium concentration, and did decrease urine potassium concentration. Combined renal and extrarenal sodium excretion was greater during MT treatment. During NaCl infusion, angiotensin II increased, aldosterone decreased, and arginine vasotocin remained unchanged. Melatonin did not affect these responses. These data suggest an osmoregulatory role for melatonin in birds with salt glands.

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    ABSTRACT: Since their discovery in 1958, the function of specialized salt-secreting glands in tetrapods has been studied in great detail, and such studies continue to contribute to a general understanding of transport mechanisms of epithelial water and ions. Interestingly, during that same time period, there have been only few attempts to understand the convergent evolution of this tissue, likely as a result of the paucity of taxonomic, embryological, and molecular data available. In this review, we synthesize the available data regarding the distribution of salt glands across extant and extinct tetrapod lineages and the anatomical position of the salt gland in each taxon. Further, we use these data to develop hypotheses about the various factors that have influenced the convergent evolution of salt glands across taxa with special focus on the variation in the anatomical position of the glands and on the molecular mechanisms that may have facilitated the development of a salt gland by co-option of a nonsalt-secreting ancestral gland. It is our hope that this review will stimulate renewed interest in the topic of the convergent evolution of salt glands and inspire future empirical studies aimed at evaluating the hypotheses we lay out herein.
    Integrative and Comparative Biology 05/2012; 52(2):245-56. · 2.97 Impact Factor


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May 20, 2014