Pineal lysosomal enzymes in the Syrian hamster: circadian rhythm and effects of castration or short photoperiod treatment

M. K. Vaughan, G. M. Vaughan, J. C. Little, G. R. Buzzell, J. P. Chambers, R. J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A circadian rhythm in acid phosphatase and hexosaminidase was found in adult male hamsters exposed to a long photoperiod (14:10 h light/dark [LD]; lights on 06.00 h) and killed at 08.00, 14.00, 20.00, 02.00, 04.00, 05.50 and 0.615 h. Hexosaminidase and β-glucuronidase activity at 02.00, 04.00 and 05.50 h (values pooled for these times before lights on) were significantly elevated compared to enzyme activity at 06.15 and 08.00 h (pooled values after lights on), suggesting a fall in activity associated with lights on. Hypogonadism was induced in female Syrian hamsters by exposure to a short photoperiod (10:14 h LD) until a majority of them were vaginally acyclic. Pineal lysosomal enzyme activities (acid phosphataseβ-glucuronidase, hexosaminidase, α-arabinosidase and β-galactosidase) were significantly elevated in short photoperiod-exposed animals compared to animals in 14:10 LD, when measured near the middle of the light phase. In the third experiment, castrated animals were used to determine if lowered androgen levels might also affect pineal lysosomal enzyme activity. The results indicated that light phase β-glucuronidase, hexosaminidase and β-glucosidase activities were lower in castrated males compared to their intact controls. In summary, these results demonstrate that (1) lysosomal enzyme activity is present in the Syrian hamster pineal, (2) changes can be observed which suggest involvement of this activity in pineal function and, (3) a circadian rhythm in enzyme activity is present with peak activity occurring during the night. In the short photoperiod and castration experiments, the changes in lysosomal enzyme activity could reflect either a hormonal manipulation or a change in circadian regulation of enzyme activity. In the circadian rhythm experiment, the timing of changes of two enzymes raises the question of possible lysosomal involvement in the hamster pineal adrenergic responsiveness that is known to be lost with the onset of morning light. Furthermore, daytime enzyme activity is influenced by neuroendocrine manipulations, indicating that lysosomal activity may represent a pineal function influenced by light restriction and by gonadal system hormonal activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-324
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 12 1989


  • Acid phosphatase
  • Castration
  • Hexosaminidase
  • Lysosomal enzyme
  • Photoperiod
  • Pineal
  • α-Arabinosidase
  • β-Glucosidase
  • β-Glucuronidase
  • β-d-Galactosidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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