Nyctohemeral rhythms of gonadal, thyroid and pineal function in the hyperprolactinemic Male rat

Mary K. Vaughan, Damon C. Herbert, George M. Vaughan, Frank J. Weaker, Anna I. Esquifino, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In young adult male rats bearing a donor anterior pituitary gland grafted for 3 weeks under a kidney capsule, serum prolactin (PRL) concentrations were elevated and exhibited a rhythm with the highest values in the light phase. Serum PRL in control animals did not exhibit a significant rhythm. Eutopic pituitary PRL content, manifesting a biphasic (12-hr) rhythm with crests during the day and night in controls, exhibited a similar pattern in grafted rats though an overall reduction in pituitary PRL content was seen in the grafted animals. Neither the normal biphasic serum testosterone rhythm nor the normal 24-hr rhythm (nocturnal surge) of pineal N-acetyltransferase activity and melatonin content were altered in the hyperprolactinemic rats. Serum thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) and their free indices (FT4 I, FT3 I) and serum thyrotropin (TSH) were highest during the day in controls and grafted rats and a 12-hr rhythmic component was detected in data for these variables. In the grafted animals, the 12-hr component was reflected in an additional peak at night detectable by testing of means. The overall serum T4 FT4 I, and TSH levels were lower in grafted rats though overall T3 and FT3I levels did not differ between grafted and controls. T3 uptake (T3 U) values were similar between controls and grafted rats, in both cases exhibiting a fall during the night. Changes in serum thyronines could not be explained by changes in serum binding as assessed by the T3U3 and thus may represent changes in thyroidal secretion of T4. The rhythm in serum PRL of grafted rats suggests the presence of rhythmic circulating factor(s) capable of influencing ectopic lactotrophs. The reduced eutopic pituitary PRL content suggests a role for PRL in influencing eutopic lactotrophs in the pituitary-grafted hyperprolactinemic male rat model. Though circulating testosterone and pineal melatonin synthesis were not altered in this model, thyroid function appeared to be so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalChronobiology international
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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