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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2013 Nov 1;193:72-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2013.07.010. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Acute downregulation of Type II and Type III iodothyronine deiodinases by photoperiod in peripubertal male and female Siberian hamsters.

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Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. Electronic address:


Availability of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) in the mediobasal hypothalamus plays a central role in seasonal reproductive responses to photoperiod. Across many vertebrates, Type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase (DIO2) is elevated under reproductively stimulatory long days (LD) and synthesizes the conversion of thyroxine to T3; Type 3 iodothyronine deiodinase (DIO3) reduces T3 production and signaling, and is upregulated under reproductively-inhibitory short days (SD). In Siberian hamsters, regulation of hypothalamic T3 is dominated by dio3 expression, whereas dio2 expression is less-consistently affected by photoperiod. In adult hamsters, changes in deiodinase mRNA expression typically require several weeks to manifest, but it is not known whether or how quickly these mechanisms are engaged during the rapid responses to photoperiod observed in young, peri-pubertal hamsters. This experiment tested the hypotheses that (1) deiodinase responses to photoperiod are accelerated in juvenile hamsters and (2) photoperiodic downregulation of deiodinase expression occurs more rapidly than upregulation. Hypothalamic dio2 and dio3 mRNA expression was quantified in male and female Siberian hamsters that were weaned on postnatal day 18 (PND 18) into SD or remained in their natal LD, and on PND 31 were exposed to a single long or short day. In SD males and females, a single long day inhibited dio3 mRNA expression, but did not increase dio2 mRNA. In LD males, a single short day rapidly inhibited dio2 mRNA expression, but did not stimulate expression of dio3 mRNA. Downregulation of dio2 and dio3 mRNAs precedes gonadotrophin responses to day length. Rapid photoperiodic inhibition of deiodinase mRNAs may initiate changes in thyroid hormone signaling in advance of longer-term, melatonin-dependent, responses.


Reproduction; Seasonality; Thyroid; dio2; dio3

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