Pineal β-Adrenergic Receptor: Diurnal Variation in Sensitivity

Science  07 Jun 1974:
Vol. 184, Issue 4141, pp. 1091-1092
DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4141.1091


The responsiveness of the pineal β-adrenergic receptor that regulates serotonin-N-acetyltransferase activity is nearly ten times greater at the end of the light period (0600 to 1800 hours) than at the end of the dark period (1800 to 0600 hours). These changes in sensitivity of the postsynaptic β-adrenergic receptor are related to diurnal changes in the release of noradrenaline from sympathetic nerves innervating the pineal. Supersensitivity of the receptor appears to result from decreased release of the neurotransmitter during daytime, and subsensitivity from increased release at night.