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Horm Behav. 1989 Mar;23(1):27-42.

Photoperiodic modulation of sexual and aggressive behavior in female golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus): role of the pineal gland.

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Psychology Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824.


Pinealectomized female hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) housed in a short-day photoperiod were ovariectomized and tested for hormone-induced sexual receptivity in order to investigate the role of the pineal gland in the control of behavioral sensitivity to exogenous ovarian steroid hormones (Experiment 1). Behavioral sensitivity to hormones was further investigated in females maintained in a long-day photoperiod and rendered acyclic by daily administration of exogenous melatonin (Experiment 2). Female aggressive behavior was also monitored in all tests. Pinealectomy did not affect the reduced behavioral sensitivity to exogenous estrogen (E) induced by short days. These animals were also partially refractory to the effects of E when combined with low doses of progesterone. In addition, although melatonin administration mimicked the effects of short days on estrous cyclicity, the expression of hormone-dependent behaviors in these animals resembled the pattern displayed by control animals kept in long days. Thus, these findings suggest that the pineal gland plays a negligible role in the photoperiodic modulation of hormone-dependent sociosexual behaviors in female hamsters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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