Exposure of male hamsters to short daily photoperiods (1 hour of light and 23 hours of darkness daily for 9 weeks led to total involution of the testes and accessory sex organs (seminal vesicles and coagulating glands). Pituitary levels of immunoreactive prolaction also decreased by about 60 percent after dark exposure. The inhibitory effects of darkness on the reproductive organs were prevented either by pinealectomy or by the subcutaneous implantation of a melatonin-beeswax pellet into the animals each week. Both pinealectomy and melatonin treatment also returned pituitary levels of prolactin toward normal. The results suggest that melatonin is not the pineal antigonadotrophic factor in the male golden hamster.
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