In Vivo Relevance

In the rat, the tail artery plays an important role in thermoregulation by modulating heat loss and conservation. The opposing responses of melatonin receptor subtypes may help optimize tail blood flow to control body temperature as melatonin levels

Figure 5. Schematic representation of the proposed relative contributions of mt1-like and MT2 melatonin receptors in the rat tail artery under different levels of circulating estrogen.

rise and fall under different physiological and environmental conditions. Circulating estradiol enhances the MT2-mediated relaxation component of the net vascular response to melatonin, which may be important for appropriate temperature regulation during the rat estrous cycle. Melatonin action on the tail artery no doubt reinforces adaptive circadian, reproductive and seasonal changes in thermoregulation in the rat (16,53). The recent finding that mt1 receptor mRNA is expressed in human subcutaneous arteries (37) suggests that melatonin may regulate peripheral thermoregulation in humans as well.

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