The onset of sexual differences in the metabolism of porphyrins and melatonin in the Harderian glands of Syrian hamsters was studied. Three weeks after birth, the porphyrin concentrations were already higher in glands of females than in those of males. Castration of 22-day-old male hamsters led to an increase in Harderian porphyrin concentrations, although the levels of intact females were not reached. The administration of testosterone to 22-day-old female hamsters resulted in a marked decrease in porphyrin concentrations. Study of the development of sexual differences in the enzymes involved in melatonin synthesis, n-acetyltransferase (nAT) and hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) indicated that not all the sexual differences observed in these glands begin at the same time. Thus, while differences in NAT activity were detected after the age of 3 weeks, male-female differences in HIOMT activity were only observed after 7 weeks. Castration of prepubertal male hamsters lowered NAT but not HIOMT activities. The administration of testosterone to prepubertal female hamsters led to male activity levels in both enzymes. Although circulating androgens seem to have a crucial role in maintaining sexual differences, other hormones including those from the pituitary and thyroid glands are probably also important for generating these sexual differences.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||International Journal of Developmental Biology|
|State||Published - Sep 2 1991|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology