Snap25 (synaptosomal-associated protein) is a 25 kDa protein, belonging to the SNARE-family (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors) of proteins, essential for synaptic and secretory vesicle exocytosis. Snap25 has by immunohistochemistry been demonstrated in the rat pineal gland but the biological importance of this is unknown. In this study, we demonstrate a high expression of mRNA encoding Snap25 in all parts of the rat pineal complex, the superficial-, and deep-pineal gland, as well as in the pineal stalk. Snap25 showed a low pineal expression during embryonic stages with a strong increase in expression levels just after birth. The expression showed no day/night variations. Neither removal of the sympathetic input to the pineal gland by superior cervical ganglionectomy nor bilateral decentralization of the superior cervical ganglia significantly affected the expression of Snap25 in the gland. The pineal expression levels of Snap25 were not changed following intraperitoneal injection of isoproterenol. The strong expression of Snap25 in the pineal gland suggests the presence of secretory granules and microvesicles in the rat pinealocyte supporting the concept of a vesicular release. At the transcriptional level, this Snap25-based release mechanism does not exhibit any diurnal rhythmicity and is regulated independently of the sympathetic nervous input to the gland.
Neurochemical Research, 2013, Vol 38, Issue 6, p. 1219-1228