Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Quantitative levels of melatonin and 5-hydroxytryptamine were measured over the scotophase in the protocerebrum, subesophageal ganglion, optic lobes, thoracic ganglia, and hemolymph of adult male cabbage looper moths, Trichoplusia ni, using HPLC with electrochemical detection. Melatonin levels were very low (s 〈 1 pmol) or undetectable during the photophase, but increased in all tissues during the dark. Lowest mean levels in the dark were observed in the optic lobes (0.3 to 0.7 pmols). Maximal mean levels in the protocerebrum (5.2 pmols) occurred in the early part of the scotophase, but in all other tissues (2.8 in the subesophageal ganglion; 9.5 in thoracic ganglia) and hemolymph (18 pg/μl) maximal mean levels were observed later in the dark. Levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine in each tissue, in contrast, were higher than melatonin levels in the photophase, and in the protocerebrum and thoracic ganglia decreased during the dark, but in the optic lobes and subesophageal ganglion remained unchanged. Further, decreases in 5-hydroxytryptamine during the dark were significantly lower than the increased levels of melatonin, suggesting that active synthesis of 5-hydroxytryptamine was occurring. In a second experiment, when measured from individuals in three different photoperiods (6∶18, 12∶12, 18∶6 light∶dark) maximum mean melatonin levels in the brain (protocerebral and subesophageal ganglia) peaked within the first 1.5 h of the dark and remained at measurable levels for the duration of the dark. In a third experiment, levels of melatonin in the brain and thoracic ganglia displayed rhythmicity in continuous dark conditions but not in continuous light, when compared with profiles obtained in a normal light ∶ dark regime.
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