N-(3,5-dinitrophenyl)-5-methoxytryptamine, a novel melatonin antagonist: Effects on sexual maturation of the male and female rat and on oestrous cycles of the female rat

M. Laudon, Z. Yaron, N. Zisapel

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Abstract

N-(3,5-dinitrophenyl)-5-methoxytryptamine (ML-23) has recently been synthesized and shown to antagonize the inhibitory effect of melatonin on the release of dopamine in vitro from the hypothalamus of female rats. In the present study the ability of ML-23 to inhibit in vivo the following melatonin-mediated effects was investigated: (1) delayed sexual maturation of young male rats, (2) delayed sexual maturation of young female rats, (3) inhibition of ovulation in mature female rats and (4) re-establishment of oestrous cycles in adult female rats maintained in continuous light. The inhibitory effect of daily melatonin injections, given in the afternoon, on the growth of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles and on serum testosterone concentrations in young male rats was prevented by daily injections of ML-23. Daily injections of ML-23 alone did not affect sexual maturation of young rats. In young male rats treated through the drinking water with melatonin, the growth of the accessory sex organs, but not that of the testes, was delayed and serum concentrations of testosterone were lower than in untreated rats. Administration of ML-23 through the drinking water increased serum concentrations of testosterone but did not signficantly affect the weights of the accessory sex organs. Simultaneous administration of ML-23 and melatonin through the drinking water prevented completely, in a dose-dependent manner, the melatonin-mediated decrease in epididymal weights and in serum concentrations of testosterone and partially inhibited the delayed growth of the prostate glands and seminal vesicles. In young female rats treated with melatonin through the drinking water for 30 days, the growth of the ovaries was inhibited and serum concentrations of oestradiol were lower than in untreated rats. The growth of the uterus was not significantly affected. Administration of ML-23 through the drinking water did not signifcantly affect uterine and ovarian weights or oestradiol concentrations. Simultaneous administration of melatonin and ML-23 through the drinking water prevented completely the melatonin-mediated decrease in ovarian weights and in serum oestradiol concentrations. Ovulation during presumptive oestrus was prevented in adult female rats treated through the drinking water for 7 days with melatonin. Administration of ML-23 alone did not significantly affect the average numbers of ova shed and corpora lutea present. Simultaneous administration of ML-23 and melatonin prevented completely the melatonin-mediated inhibition of ovulation; the average number of ova shed was the same as in controls. Suppression of reproductive cycles occurred in adult female rats after long-term exposure to continuous light. This suppression was prevented by daily injections of melatonin in the afternoon; the incidence of constant oestrus decreased by 80%. Simultaneous injection of ML-23 and melatonin into rats maintained under continuous illumination prevented the effect of melatonin, and all the animals remained in constant oestrus. Administration of ML-23 alone did not alter the incidence of constant oestrus. A tritium-labelled derivative of ML-23 was prepared and administered orally to male rats. Peak concentrations of ML-23 occurred in the blood within 30 min after feeding and disappeared subsequently with a half-life of about 42 min. Intraperitonal injection of [3H]ML-23 resulted in the appearance of peak concentrations of the drug in the brain within 20 min. The effects of ML-23 on serotonin S1 and S2 receptors, dopamine D2 receptors and melatonin receptors in the brain of the male rat were investigated using [3H]serotonin, [3H]spiperone and 2-[125I]iodomelatonin respectively. The binding of [3H]serotonin to brain synaptosomes and of [3H]spiperone to symaptosomes prepared from the cortical and caudate regions of the cerebrum was unaffected by ML-23 (10 μmol/l), whereas the binding of 2-[125I]iodomelatonin to brain synaptosomes was entirely inhibited. The results demonstrate the potency of ML-23 in antagonizing melatonin-mediated effects in the male and female rat in vivo. The drug may be administered to the animals simply through the drinking water, for relatively long periods without apparent deleterious effects on survival and welfare. ML-23 is accessible to both central and peripheral sites and acts specifically on melatonin but not on serotonin or dopamine receptors in the brain. The availability of a melatonin antagonist offers new opportunities for exploring the physiological role of melatonin in the neuroendocrine system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Volume116
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1988

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