Brainard, George C. Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Innervation and biochemistry
- Light regulation of melatonin
- Melatonin regulation of physiology
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An actively functioning endocrine gland, located in the brain, which secretes melatonin, is strongly regulated by light stimuli, and is an important component of the circadian timing system. The pineal gland or pineal body has the Latin name epiphysis cerebri. It is virtually ubiquitous throughout the vertebrate animal kingdom. In nonmammalian vertebrates (lampreys, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and birds), it functions as a photoreceptive third eye and an endocrine organ. In mammals, it serves as an endocrine organ that is regulated by light entering the body via the paired eyes. In all vertebrates, including humans, the pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin, with the highest synthesis and secretion occurring during the night. Despite extensive species variation in anatomy and physiology, the pineal gland generally serves as an essential component of the circadian system, which allows animals to internally measure time and coordinate physiological time-keeping with the external environment. See also: Biological clocks; Brain; Melatonin
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information