Author(s): LpezFigueroa MO, Mller M, LpezFigueroa MO, Mller M
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Abstract The recent discovery of nitric oxide (NO) as a biological messenger molecule with unique characteristics has opened a new field in pineal research. This free radical gas is synthesized by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS) from L-arginine. The activation of adrenoreceptors in the membrane of the pinealocytes mediates the increase in NO through a mechanism that involves G proteins. In the pinealocyte, NO stimulates guanylyl cyclase resulting in an increased intracellular content of cGMP. The role of cGMP in pineal metabolism, however, is still enigmatic. Using enzyme histochemistry and immunohistochemistry, the presence of NOS has been confirmed in the pineal gland of some species. In the rat and especially in the sheep, NOS is located in nerve fibres innervating the gland. These nerve fibres also contain the neuropeptides vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and peptide histidine isoleucine (PHI), and are probably of parasympathetic origin. In cell cultures and tissue sections NOS immunoreactivity has been shown to be present in pinealocytes of the rat and bovine but not in the sheep. Finally, NOS is also present in the endothelial cells of the blood vessels of the pineal gland. Accordingly, in the mammalian pineal gland, NO is synthesized in both presynaptic nerve fibers and pinealocytes, as well as in blood vessels. However, the anatomical location of NO synthesis varies considerably among species. NO released in the pineal gland, might influence both the pineal metabolism and the blood flow of the gland.
This article was published in Histol Histopathol
and referenced in Immunome Research