The pineal gland and opiate-induced feeding

B. A. Gosnell, D. W. Waggoner, J. E. Morley, A. S. Levine

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13 Scopus citations


Opiate systems in the brain are thought to play a major, though not exclusive, role in the regulation of intake. The rough correspondence of feeding and pineal activity rhythms in the rat offers the possibility that the pineal may also modulate ingestive behavior. In these studies we measured the possibility that pineal manipulations would influence feeding responses to opiate agonists and the antagonist naloxone. Male rats received one of four treatments (or a corresponding control treatment): pinealectomy, removal of the superior cervical ganglia (SCG), transection of the optic nerves or chronic melatonin treatment (1 mg/kg daily). Pinealectomy and melatonin treatment reduced intake during the first half of the dark period, and removal of the SCG reduced intake during the second half of the light period. The most striking effect was seen after optic nerve transection, which reduced nocturnal and increased diurnal intake. Pinealectomy, but no other manipulation, caused a slight decrease in sensitivity to the inhibitory effects of naloxone on intake. None of the treatments affected daytime feeding responses to morphine, ketocyclazocine, or butorphanol. These results suggest that the pineal gland has a minimal role in modulating the opioid regulation of food intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1985


  • Feeding
  • Melatonin
  • Naloxone
  • Opiates
  • Pineal


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