The Influence of Various Irradiances of Artificial Light, Twilight, and Moonlight on the Suppression of Pineal Melatonin Content in the Syrian Hamster

George C. Brainard, Bruce A. Richardson, Edward C. Hurlbut, Stephan Steinlechner, Susan A. Matthews, Rüssel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of the present studies using artificial light was to determine how the timing and duration of exposure influence the light‐induced suppression of pineal melatonin levels in hamsters. An 8‐min exposure to 0.186 μW/cm2 of cool white fluorescent light caused a continued depression of pineal melatonin even when animals were returned to darkness. In addition, the pineal gland does not appear to change its sensitivity to light throughout the night. A 20‐min exposure to 0.019 μW/cm2 of cool white fluorescent light did not significantly suppress pineal melatonin during any time of the melatonin peak, whereas a 20‐min exposure to 0.186 μW/cm2was capable of always suppressing melatonin. Furthermore, increasing the duration of 0.019‐μW/cm2 exposure to 30, 60, 120, or 180 min does not increase the capacity of this irradiance to depress melatonin. Similar to artifical light, natural light has a variable capacity for suppressing nocturnal levels of pineal melatonin. Twilight irradiances of 0.138 μW/cm2 or less did not suppress nocturnal melatonin whereas twilight irradiances of 3.0 μW/cm2 or greater did suppress pineal melatonin. A few animals did have lower melatonin after a 40‐min exposure to full moonlight during July (0.045 μW/cm2) or January (0.240 μW/cm2). However, pineal melatonin levels remained high in the majority of animals exposed to full moonlight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-119
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of pineal research
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1984
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • light
  • melatonin
  • moonlight
  • pineal
  • twilight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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