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Biol Reprod. 1993 Oct;49(4):666-74.

Testicular regression in pinealectomized Syrian hamsters following infusions of melatonin delivered on non-circadian schedules.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The aims of this study were to validate the use of a timed infusion protocol for restoring physiologically appropriate rhythms of melatonin in the circulation of pinealectomized hamsters and, using such infusions, to compare the relative importance of the parameters of the nocturnal melatonin signal--frequency, phase, and duration of the interval between signals--in the photoperiodic control of testicular function in male Syrian hamsters. Hamsters were pinealectomized and fitted with a chronic s.c. cannula enabling them to receive timed infusions of melatonin (50 ng/h) or saline vehicle (50 microliters/h). In experiment 1, RIA of serum samples confirmed that s.c. infusions produced a pattern of melatonin in the blood equivalent in amplitude and duration to that observed previously in pineal-intact animals exposed to a short photoperiod. In experiment 2, we investigated the relative importance of the frequency of the melatonin signal and the duration of the interval between signals. Pinealectomized animals that received infusions of saline for 6 wk had large testes and high concentrations of LH in the serum. Animals that received a series of short-day-like infusions of melatonin of 14-h duration, separated by an interval of either 10 h or 6 h, underwent gonadal regression and had low serum concentrations of LH. Animals that received infusions of melatonin of 8-h duration, separated by intervals of 12 h, also exhibited full gonadal collapse. However, animals that received the same 8-h infusions separated by intervals of 8 h (i.e., once every 16 h) did not undergo gonadal regression and their circulating levels of LH remained high.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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