Our recent ultrastructural study of human parotid glands revealed that the melatonin receptors, MT1 and MT2, are localised in the plasma cell membranes of acinar and ductal cells but also, and intriguingly, predominantly in acinar secretory granules, giving rise to the working hypothesis that secretory granules are a part of a transcytotic transport system for melatonin. To put this hypothesis to the test in rat parotid glands, anaesthetised animals were exposed to a high melatonin dose (3 mg/kg per hour), infused intravenously over two hours and aiming to stimulate a glandular melatonin-receptor-dependent intracellular transport system, if any. Thirty minutes later, the right parotids were removed. Pre-stimulation, left parotid gland tissue was removed to serve as (untreated) controls. Gland tissues were processed for the gold post-embedding technique and for western blot analysis. In untreated glands, on transmission electron microscope images, melatonin receptors displayed a distribution pattern similar to that in human parotids, i.e. here, too, the receptors were principally associated with the acinar secretory granules. In melatonin- treated glands, the number of granules associated with the MT1 receptor was twice that in untreated glands, despite the same total granule number in the two glands. Moreover, the density of gold particles showing MT1-receptor immunoreactivity associated with granules in melatonin-treated glands was 2.5 times that in untreated glands. The number of MT1 receptors associated with the granule membrane was about three times higher in melatonin-treated glands than in untreated glands, while the number of MT1 receptors inside the granules was about twice that in untreated glands. The immunoblotting of membrane-enriched samples showed that the MT1-receptor expression was about three times that of untreated glands. When it came to the MT2 receptor, no changes were observed. Melatonin itself thus exerts dynamic effects on its MT1 receptor, which may reflect an adaptive receptor-linked carrier system for melatonin, delivering - upon gland stimulation - melatonin to the saliva by exocytosis.
|Titolo:||Dynamics of the melatonin MT1 receptor in the rat parotid gland upon melatonin administration|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Tipologia:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|