Shida CS, Castrucci AML, Lamy-Freund MT. High melatonin solubility in aqueous medium. J Pineal Res. 1994:16:198–201.
The pineal hormone melatonin (5-methoxy-N-acetyl-tryptamine) has been reported to participate in important physiological processes. Although some of its biological actions seem to depend on a protein receptor at the membrane surface, melatonin is known to interact with a large variety of tissues and cells, suggesting that the molecule may not necessarily interact through a specific membrane receptor at a specific cell. Most discussions of melatonin activity have assumed that the molecule is highly hydrophobic. Contrary to belief, the present work shows that melatonin is soluble in a purely aqueous medium up to 5 ± 10-3 M and describes a new method of melatonin preparation which shows the high hydrophilicity of the molecule. The results presented will affect the current biological hypothesis on the need of a melatonin carrier in the blood stream or the mechanisms which allow the hormone to cross the cell membrane and interact at the level of the nucleus.