Melatonin synthesis enzymes activity: radiometric assays for AANAT, ASMT, and TPH

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Melatonin is synthesized and secreted by the pineal gland in mammals. Its synthesis is triggered at night by norepinephrine released in the interstices of the gland. This nocturnal production is dependent on the transcription, translation, and/or activation of the enzymes arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), acetylserotonin O-methyltransferase (ASMT), and tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH). In this chapter, the methodology for the analysis of AANAT, ASMT, and TPH activities by radiometric assays will be presented. Several papers were published by our group utilizing these methodologies, evaluating the enzymes modulation by voltage-gated calcium channels, angiotensin II, insulin, anhydroecgonine methyl ester (AEME, crack-cocaine product), ethanol, monosodium glutamate (MSG), signaling pathways such as NFkB, and pathophysiological conditions such as diabetes.
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