Effects of bilateral and unilateral ophthalmectomy on plasma melatonin in Rana tadpoles and froglets under various experimental conditions

Mary L. Wright, Lucy L. Francisco, Jessica L. Scott, Shaun E. Richardson, James A. Carr, Amy B. King, Arielle G. Noyes, Rachael F. Visconti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effect of ophthalmectomy (enucleation) on plasma melatonin in Rana tadpoles and froglets was studied under various experimental conditions to determine if ocular melatonin is released into the circulation from the eyes and to study the factors which might affect this process. Where operations occurred in early or mid-photophase on a 12 light:12 dark (12L:12D) cycle (light onset at 08:00 h), sampling in mid-light and mid-dark revealed that scotophase plasma melatonin was reduced at all developmental stages, with the more significant effects occurring before metamorphic climax. Experiments sampling prometamorphic tadpoles six times in a 24 h period on 18L:6D, 12L:12D, or 6L:18D five days after enucleation also showed a significant lowering of plasma melatonin in the dark, so that the scotophase peak was virtually eliminated on all the LD cycles. These findings indicated that the reduction in plasma melatonin after bilateral eye removal was independent of the LD cycle and the metamorphic stage, and that it abolished the diel melatonin rhythm at the expense of the scotophase peak. Experiments carried out for 5 weeks suggested that compensatory secretion of melatonin by other organs after eye removal might partially restore the plasma melatonin level over time. Unilateral ophthalmectomy tended to reduce, but not eliminate, the night peak of plasma melatonin, and did not result in a compensatory increase in ocular melatonin in the remaining eye. Ophthalmectomized tadpoles exhibited darkening of the skin after the operation, which was not associated with a significant change in pituitary α-melanotropin. The findings overall indicate that the eyes in Rana tadpoles and froglets contribute up to somewhat over one-half of the circulating melatonin, particularly during the scotophase, and provide experimental evidence for ocular secretion into the blood for the first time in the Amphibia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-166
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Volume147
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006

Keywords

  • Diel rhythms
  • Enucleation
  • Ocular melatonin
  • Ophthalmectomy
  • Pigmentation
  • Plasma melatonin
  • Rana catesbeiana
  • Rana pipiens
  • Tadpoles
  • α-MSH

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