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Physiol Behav. 2013 Feb 17;110-111:206-12. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.01.008. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Sex differences in Siberian hamster ultradian locomotor rhythms.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. prendergast@uchicago.edu

Abstract

Sex differences in ultradian activity rhythms (URs) and circadian rhythms (CRs) were assessed in Siberian hamsters kept in long day (LD) or short day (SD) photoperiods for 40 weeks. For both sexes URs of locomotor activity were more prevalent, greater in amplitude and more robust in SDs. The UR period was longer in females than males in both day lengths. The reproductive system underwent regression and body mass declined during the initial 10 weeks of SD treatment, and in both sexes these traits spontaneously reverted to the LD phenotype at or before 40 weeks in SD, reflecting the development of neuroendocrine refractoriness to SD patterns of melatonin secretion. Hamsters of both sexes, however, continued to display SD-like URs at the 40 weeks time point. CRs were less prevalent and the waveform less robust and lower in amplitude in SDs than LDs; the SD circadian waveform also did not revert to the long-day phenotype after 40 weeks of SD treatment. Short day lengths enhanced ultradian and diminished circadian rhythms in both sexes. Day length controls several UR characteristics via gonadal steroid and melatonin-independent mechanisms. Sex differences in ultradian timing may contribute to sex diphenisms in rhythms of sleep, food intake and exercise.

PMID:
23333554
PMCID:
PMC3985607
DOI:
10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.01.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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