General and comparative endocrinology

Melatonin and 5-methoxytryptophol (5-ML) in nervous and/or neurosensory structures of a gastropod mollusc (Helix aspersa maxima): synthesis and diurnal rhythms.

PMID 12679093


Daily patterns of melatonin and 5-methoxytryptophol (5-ML) concentrations and of aryl alkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AA-NAT) and hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) activities have been measured in the cerebroid ganglions, visceral ganglions, and ocular tentacles of the gastropod mollusc Helix aspersa maxima. Melatonin concentrations are very low in all the studied structures, except a small peak at the end of the night in the cerebroid ganglions. 5-ML, which is quite undetectable in the cerebroid and visceral ganglions, shows clear daily variations in the ocular tentacles with low values in the middle of the light period and high values during the night. These results are opposite to what is known on daily variations of 5-ML in vertebrates. AA-NAT activity was not detected, while the presence of an HIOMT-like activity supports the hypothesis that 5-ML is synthesized in the ocular tentacles. The temporal relationships existing between the 5-ML rhythm in the ocular tentacles and the hemolymph suggest that 5-ML could be released in the general circulation. These preliminary results suggest that 5-ML could be an informative molecule involved in adaptative processes in the snail and they reinforce the hypothesis that the different 5-methoxyindoles could be implicated in the integration of environmental information.

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5-Methoxytryptophol, analytical standard