The Presence and Localization of Melatonin Receptors in the Rat Aorta
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Melatonin is involved in blood pressure modulation in rats and humans. Some of the effects of melatonin are presumably mediated via two G-protein-coupled receptors (MT1 and MT2), but the distribution of MT1 and MT2 in the cardiovascular system remains to be explored comprehensively. We investigated the expression of both the receptors in the rat aorta on mRNA level by RT-PCR and real time RT-PCR as well as on protein level via western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. We verified MT1 mRNA expression in the rat aorta and demonstrated the absence of MT2 mRNA in this vessel type. MT1 receptors were confirmed also at the protein level, and surprisingly they were preferentially localized to the tunica adventitia. Since no daily changes in MT1 mRNA expression were detected, we suppose that the circadian changes in circulating melatonin concentrations are sufficient to mediate circadian effects of melatonin in the aorta. The localization of MT1 in the tunica adventitia suggests an influence of melatonin on vasa vasorum function and signal transduction in the aorta wall.
KeywordsRat aorta MT1/MT2 melatonin receptors Adventitia Gene expression Immunofluorescence microscopy
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the FFG/Austria to IE (Bridge 818094) and Slovak APVV-0214-07 and 0150-10 to MZ.
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