2-[125I]iodomelatonin was used to study the distribution and properties of the melatonin receptor in the Japanese quail brain. High receptor density was detected in the major targets of direct retinal input (optic tectum, nucleus of the optic basal rout, ventrolateral geniculate nucleus), as well as areas representing terminals in the visual pathways (nucleus rotundus, ectostriatum, thalamo-hyperstriatal pathway). Binding was also found in the piriform cortex, the hypophyseal pars tuberalis, the oculomotorius nucleus and the associated Edinger-Westphal nucleus, and in the nuclei of the third, fourth and sixth cranial nerves. A comparison of the receptor pharmacological profile to that of the mammalian brain demonstrated pharmacological identity of the two binding sites. In the saturation experiments, GPT gamma S decreased the binding affinity, numerical Kd values increasing from approximately 35 pM to approximately 150 pM.
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