Whereas the pineal organs of lower vertebrates have been shown to be photosensitive, photic regulation of pineal function in adult mammals is thought be mediated entirely by retinal photoreceptors. Extraretinal regulation of pineal function has been reported in neonatal rodents, although both the site and molecular basis of extraretinal photoreception have remained obscure. In this study we examine the developmental expression pattern of all of the principal components of retinal phototransduction in rat pineal via cRNA in situ hybridization. All of the components needed to reconstitute a functional phototransduction pathway are expressed in the majority of neonatal pinealocytes, although the expression levels of many of these genes decline dramatically during development. These findings strongly support the theory that the neonatal rat pineal itself is photosensitive. In addition, we observe in neonatal pinealocytes the expression of both rod- specific and cone-specific phototransduction components, implying the existence of functionally different subtypes of pinealocytes that express varying combinations of phototransduction enzymes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|State||Published - 1997|
- In situ hybridization
- Rhodopsin kinase
ASJC Scopus subject areas