The influence of natural short photoperiodic and temperature conditions on plasma thyroid hormones and cholesterol in male Syrian hamsters

M. K. Vaughan, G. C. Brainard, R. J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Adult male Syrian hamsters were subjected to 1, 3, 5, 7 or 11 weeks of either natural winter conditions or rigorously controlled laboratory conditions (LD 10:14; 22 ± 2‡C). Although both groups of hamsters gained weight over the course of the experiment, hamsters housed indoors were significantly heavier after 5 weeks of treatment compared to their outdoors counterparts. Animals housed under natural conditions exhibited a significant decrease in circulating levels of thyroxine (T4) and a rapid rise in triiodothyronine (T3) levels; the free T4 and free T3 index (FT4I and FT3I) mirrored the changes in circulating levels of the respective hormones. Laboratory-housed animals had a slight rise in T4 and FT4I at 3 weeks followed by a slow steady decline in these values; T3 and FT3I values did not change remarkably in these animals. Plasma cholesterol declined steadily over the course of the experiment in laboratory-maintained animals but increased slightly during the first 5 weeks in animals under natural conditions. Since the photoperiodic conditions were approximately of the same duration in these 2 groups, it is concluded that the major differences in body weight, thyroid hormone values and plasma cholesterol are due to some component (possibly temperature) in the natural environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of biometeorology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1984


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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