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Biol Reprod. 1991 Sep;45(3):493-7.

Seasonal variations in the testis and epididymis of vizcacha (Lagostomus maximus maximus).

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  • 1Catedras de Histología y Farmacología, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Argentina.


Seasonal changes in reproductive activity in the adult male vizcacha (Lagostomus maximus maximus), a South American rodent, were investigated. Monthly, for 2 yr, the animals were killed and decapitated during the night near their burrows in the vicinity of San Luis, Argentina. The testes, epididymides, and pineal glands were removed and used for biochemical and structural studies. Significant changes associated with seasonal cycles were found. 1) In July-August (winter in South America), a short hibernal period of sexual quiescence, decline in testicular and epididymal weights, arrest of spermatogenesis, and decrease of serum testosterone were observed. The gonads regressed during this period, with regression most pronounced in August. 2) During September-November (spring), a recovery period--without arrest of spermatogenesis--was observed, with significant expression of gonadal activity during April-May (autumn). In this season, gonadal weight was increased and spermatogenesis was complete. These results indicate an increase in sexual activity as well as in the ability to secrete testosterone. A gradual reduction of testicular activity appeared in June-July (early winter). Conversely, in this period, the pineal hydroxyindole-O-methyl transferase activity decreased in contrast to the highest values observed in winter. Our findings indicate that the male adult vizcacha under natural conditions exhibits an annual reproductive cycle. A possible relationship between increased pineal activity and gonadal regression is also suggested.

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