Pineal Gland

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Information about Pineal Gland

Published on July 8, 2007

Author: scatteredbrain


Pineal Gland R. Kalliecharan

Development and Histology • Develops from roof of diencephalon (a dorsal diverticulum) • Composed of two cell types : • 1) pinealocytes and 2) neuroglial –like interstitial cells • Pinealocytes secretes primarily melatonin which is syn from trytophan via serotonin. Melatonin is highest at night. Exposure to light decreases melatonin syn. Hence, a diurnal rhythm • Has brain sand or corpora arenacea – calcified concretions –ppt of CaPO4

Histology • Melatonin secretion is regulated by norepinephrine that is released from postganglionic sympathetic nerves. • Pinealocytes have long cytoplasmic processes that terminate near capillaries • Melatonin is secreted into blood vessels whereas serotonin is taken up by presynatic axon terminals.

Synthesis of hormones • Light entering CNS via the eyes stimulates postganglionic nerves thus releasing norepinephrine which increases serotonin. • At night, 5-hydroxy indole O- methyl transferase (only found in pineal) increases and converts serotonin to melatonin

Clinical Significance • Seasonal affected disorder (SAD) affects some people during winter. It is a type of depression. Corrected by exposure to bright light. • Jet lag – adjusting to sudden changes in day length

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