When adult male Syrian hamsters were maintained under 14 h light and 10 h darkness daily (lights on from 0600-2000 h), peak pineal melatonin levels (705 pg/gland) were attained at 0500 h. When the dark phase of the light:dark cycle was interrupted with a 15 min pulse of light from 2300-2315 h (3 h after lights out), the highest melatonin levels achieved was roughly 400 pg/gland. Finally, if the 15 min pulse of light was given at 0200-0215 h (6 h after lights out) the nocturnal rise in pineal melatonin was completely abolished. Having made these observations, a second experiment was designed to determine the ability of afternoon melatonin injections to inhibit reproduction in hamsters kept under an uninterrupted 14:10 cycle or under the same lighting regimen where the dark phase was interrupted with a 15 min pulse of light (0200-0215 h). In the uninterrupted light:dark schedule the daily afternoon injection of 25 μg melatonin caused the testes and the accessory sex organs to atrophy within 11 weeks. Conversely, if the dark phase was interrupted with light between 0200-0215 h, afternoon melatonin injections were incapable of inhibiting the growth of the reproductive organs. The findings suggest that exogenously administered melatonin normally synergizes with endogenously produced melatonin to cause gonadal involution in hamsters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis