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    In vertebrates, melatonin is mainly synthesized from serotonin in the pineal gland. Many reports have documented that melatonin is also synthesized in the extra-pineal tissues, but the synthesis of melatonin in the corpus luteum (CL) of pregnant sows has never been studied. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the expression of melatonin-synthesizing enzymes, arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) and acetylserotonin O-methyltransferase (ASMT), in the CL of sows during pregnancy and to investigate the synthesis of melatonin in luteal cells. Results showed that AANAT and ASMT were both expressed in the CL of sows during pregnancy, higher levels were observed in the early- and mid-stage CL, and the lowest abundance was found in the regressing CL (later-stage). The immunostaining for AANAT and ASMT was predominantly localized in the large luteal cells of porcine CL during pregnancy. Furthermore, melatonin was synthesized in luteal cells from serotonin in a dose- and time-dependent manner. And the expressions of AANAT and ASMT were upregulated by serotonin in luteal cells. In addition, progesterone (P4) secretion and cell viability were promoted in luteal cells treated with serotonin, and the stimulatory effects were blocked by luzindole (a non-selective MT1 and MT2 antagonist). Finally, the expressions of MT1 and MT2 were augmented by serotonin in luteal cells. In conclusion, this study demonstrates for the first time the developmental expression of AANAT and ASMT in the CL and a local synthesis of melatonin in luteal cells of pregnant sows, and suggests a paracrine and/or autocrine role for melatonin in luteal function. © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


    W L Zhang, Z L Zhang, J Peng, S T Yang, J X Chen, C X Wang, D W Tong. Expression of arylalkylamine n-acetyltransferase (AANAT) and acetylserotonin o-methyltransferase (ASMT) in the corpus luteum of pregnant sows and synthesis of melatonin in luteal cells. Cell and tissue research. 2022 Apr;388(1):167-179

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    PMID: 34816281

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