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Dev Reprod. 2013 Jun;17(2):111-9. doi: 10.12717/DR.2013.17.2.111.

Continuous melatonin attenuates the regressing activities of short photoperiod in male golden hamsters.

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Department of Life Science, College of Environmental Sciences, Yong-In University, Yongin 449-714, Republic of Korea.


Golden hamsters reproduce in a limited time of a year. Their sexual activities are active in summer but inactive in winter during which day length does not exceed night time and environmental conditions are severe to them. The reproductive activities are determined by the length of light in a day (photoperiod). Melatonin is synthesized and secreted only at night time from the pineal gland. Duration of elevated melatonin is longer in winter than summer, resulting in gonadal regression. The present study aimed at the influences of continuous melatonin treatments impinging on the gonadal function in male golden hamsters. Animals received empty or melatonin-filled capsules for 10 weeks. They were divided into long photoperiod (LP) and short photoperiod (SP). All the animals maintained in LP (either empty or melatonin-filled capsules) showed large testes, implying that melatonin had no effects on testicular functions. Animals housed in SP displayed completely regressed testes. But animals kept in SP and implanted with melatonin capsules exhibited blockage of full regression by SP. These results suggest that constant release of melatonin prohibits the regressing influence of SP.


Golden hamster; Melatonin; Photoperiod; Testis.

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