GABA receptors in the region of the dorsomedial hypothalamus of rats are implicated in the control of melatonin and corticosterone release

A. Kalsbeek, W. J. Drijfhout, B. H. Westerink, J. J. van Heerikhuize, T. P. van der Woude, J. van der Vliet, R. M. Buijs

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Recently, anatomical evidence was presented that the mammalian circadian clock located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) may utilize GABA to transmit diurnal information to the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH). The present study provides further physiological evidence for the involvement of this GABAergic projection in the regulation of diurnal rhythms. Infusion of the GABA agonist muscimol in the region of the DMH completely blocked the daily increase of plasma melatonin during darkness and reduced sympathetic output in the pineal gland resulting in lower pineal melatonin production, as measured with transpineal microdialysis. Further experiments in SCN-lesioned animals indicated that the origin of this inhibitory input to the DMH is indeed the SCN. The results of this study imply that the SCN can influence the sympathetic outflow of the hypothalamus through its GABA-containing projection. Furthermore, the present results probably explain the previously reported strong inhibitory effect of benzodiazepines on plasma melatonin in both animals and humans
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-78
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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