Melatonin profiles were determined in the plasma in vivo and in the pineal organ in vitro of the sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) under various light conditions to test whether they are under circadian regulation. When serial blood samples were taken at 4-h intervals for 3 days via a cannula inserted into the dorsal aorta, plasma melatonin exhibited significant fluctuation under a light-dark cycle, with higher levels during the dark phase than during the light phase. No rhythmic fluctuations persisted under either constant dark or constant light, with constant low and high levels, respectively. Melatonin release from the pineal organ in flow-through culture exhibited a similar pattern in response to the change in light conditions, with high and low release associated with the dark and light phases, respectively. These results indicate that melatonin production in the sockeye salmon is driven by light and darkness but lacks circadian regulation.
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