Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Pineal melatonin production is rapidly suppressed by light. In mammals, the photoreceptors mediating this response are ocular; however, definitive information regarding their nature and precise location is absent. In an attempt to define these photoreceptors, we examined the sensitivity of pineal melatonin production to inhibition by controlled irradiance monochromatic green light (lambda max 509 nm) in C3H mice bearing either of two mutations affecting the retina: retinal degeneration (rd), a disruption of rod phototransduction, and retinal degeneration slow (rds), an ablation of photoreceptor outer segments. Diurnal profiles of pineal melatonin content were similar in both mutant genotypes and in wild-type mice; melatonin peaked between 3-5 h before lights on. All three genotypes exhibited irradiance dependent inhibition of pineal melatonin content; 2.6 x 10(-2) microwatts/cm2 509 nm light induced complete suppression in all three genotypes, whereas lower irradiances were ineffective in all cases. Bilateral enucleation abolished responses even to 6 microwatts/cm2 509 nm light. These results demonstrate that the process of irradiance detection for pineal melatonin inhibition is buffered against considerable loss of photoreceptive capacity and that neither rod photoreceptors nor rod or cone outer segments are required for mediating this response in mice.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1520 - 1524


Animals, Circadian Rhythm, Genotype, Light, Melatonin, Mice, Mice, Inbred C3H, Mutation, Pineal Gland, Retinal Degeneration, Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells, Rod Cell Outer Segment