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Am J Physiol. 1985 Jun;248(6 Pt 2):R664-7.

Physiological doses of prolactin stimulate pelage pigmentation in Djungarian hamster.


The Djungarian hamster exhibits a dark agouti pelage during the summer. Under the influence of decreased daylength, this species molts and develops a predominantly white winter coat. After a patch of white fur was plucked from hamsters housed in short photoperiod, chronic infusion of 10 or 20 micrograms ovine prolactin (o-PRL)/day led to the growth of a patch of pigmented fur, thus reversing the effect of the decreased daylength. Circulating o-PRL levels produced by the 10-micrograms/day infusions ranged from 17.9 +/- 4.0 to 35.1 +/- 13.8 (SE) ng/ml and thus approximated the endogenous circulating prolactin levels found in hamsters with the dark summer pelage (6, 9). Infusion of o-PRL stimulated pigmentation of the pelage of castrated as well as intact hamsters, suggesting that the testes do not mediate this effect. Infusion of ovine growth hormone (20 micrograms/day) did not stimulate pigmentation, and infusion of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (10 micrograms/day) gave inconclusive results.

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