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Endocrinology. 2013 Feb;154(2):831-41. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1990. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

Rapid induction of hypothalamic iodothyronine deiodinase expression by photoperiod and melatonin in juvenile Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus).

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Production of T(3) in the mediobasal hypothalamus is critical for regulation of seasonal reproductive physiology. Type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (DIO2) and DIO3 enzymes catalyze the prohormone T(4) into biologically-active T(3) and biologically-inactive rT(3), respectively. In several seasonally-breeding vertebrates, DIO2 and DIO3 expression is implicated in photoperiod signal transduction in adulthood. These experiments tested the hypothesis that juvenile Siberian hamsters, which are highly responsive to photoperiod at weaning (postnatal day [PND]18), exhibit rapid and sustained changes in hypothalamic dio3 mRNA expression during photoperiod-induced and photoperiod-inhibited puberty. Hypothalamic dio2 and dio3 expression was measured via quantitative PCR in hamsters born and reared in a long-day photoperiod (15L:9D) and weaned on PND18 into short-day photoperiods (9L:15D). In SD males, hypothalamic dio3 mRNA was elevated 2.5-fold within 3 days (PND21) and continued to increase (>20-fold) through PND32; changes in dio3 mRNA preceded inhibition of gonadotropin (FSH) secretion and gonadal regression in SD. Females exhibited comparable dio3 responses to SD. In LD males, dio3 remained low and invariant from PND18-PND32. In contrast, dio2 mRNA rose conspicuously on PND21, independent of photoperiod, returning to basal levels thereafter. In LD, a single afternoon melatonin (MEL) injection on PND18 or PND20 was sufficient to increase hypothalamic dio3 mRNA, and dio3 increased in proportion to the number of successive days of MEL treatment. SD photoperiods and MEL exert rapid, sustained, and additive effects on hypothalamic dio3 mRNA, which may play a central role in inhibiting maturation of the peripubertal hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis.

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