Perinatal influences of melatonin on testicular development and photoperiodic memory in Siberian hamsters


We assessed the influence of perinatal melatonin on reproductive development and adult responsiveness to melatonin. Testicular growth in an intermediate day length (14: 10 h light/dark cycle) was substantially reduced in Siberian hamsters gestated by pinealectomised compared to pineal-intact females; gonadal development was normalised in offspring of pinealectomised dams that were pinealectomised at 3-4 days of age. Hamsters deprived of melatonin only during gestation, or both pre- and postnatally, underwent testicular involution during treatment with melatonin in adulthood. Photoperiodic histories acquired prenatally did not endure as long as those acquired by adult hamsters. Hamsters first exposed to melatonin in adulthood were not more proficient in acquiring photoperiodic histories than were normal males. These findings indicate that pre- versus postnatal differences in melatonin signal duration determine rates of testicular development. Exposure to melatonin perinatally does not appear to organise the neuroendocrine substrate that mediates effects of day length and melatonin on the gonads of adult hamsters. © 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Publication Title

Journal of Neuroendocrinology