Blinding adult male golden hamsters was followed by atrophy, within 12 weeks, of the testes and accessory sex organs (seminal vesicles and coagulating glands) and by a significant reduction in pituitary prolactin levels. In experiment 1 blind hamsters received subcutaneously implanted melatonin-beeswax (1:24 mg) pellets at the following intervals: Once per week, per 2, 3, 4, 6 weeks, or only one pellet during the 12-week experimental period. The melatonin-beeswax pellets, regardless of the frequency of implantation, overcame completely the inhibitory effects of blinding on reproduction and nearly completely the depressant action of light deprivation on pituitary prolactin levels. In the second study the melatonin-beeswax pellets were implanted subcutaneously into blind hamsters every 2 weeks. The pellets contained either 1 μg, 500. 100, 50, or 1 μg melatonin. With the exception of the l-μg dosage, melatonin again negated almost totally the inhibitory action of darkness on the gonads and accessory organs and also, for the most part, prevented the drop in pituitary prolactin levels. Based on these studies, when melatonin is chronically administered subcutaneously in a beeswax pellet the minimal dosage of melatonin required to counteract the inhibitory effect of darkness on reproduction seems to be less than 3.6 jig/day. The effects of chronic melatonin treatment are similar to those of pinealectomy.
- Pineal gland
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism