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R. S. Donham and M. H. Stetson

Summary. Testosterone propionate (100 μg) or oil was injected within 24 h of birth. At 25 days of age blood samples were obtained at 14:00,17:00 and 20:00 h. There was a significant increase in serum LH, FSH and progesterone concentrations between 14:00 and 17:00 h in the controls, followed by a decrease at 20:00 h. These rhythms were absent in testosterone propionate-injected animals. Ovariectomy of adults was followed by similar increases of LH and FSH in androgenized and oil-injected females (gonadectomy response) but the large surge of gonadotrophins observed in controls 1 day after implantation of an oestradiol-containing capsule (positive feedback) was not detectable in androgenized females. These results show that the initial effects of neonatal androgenization on cyclic gonadotrophin release in the female are present before puberty and are separable from effects on steroid modulation of gonadotrophin secretion.

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R. S. Donham, G. Goodear, and M. H. Stetson

In male Syrian hamsters, short days induce regression of the reproductive system, but eventually spontaneous recrudescence occurs ensuing from refractoriness to the inhibitory photoperiod. Although the photoperiod of 12 L:12 D (12 h light:12 h dark) may act like a short day by inducing the testicular cycle outlined above, it may fail to evoke the increase of circulating concentrations of prolactin that accompanies testicular recrudescence. This photoperiod may fail to induce photorefractoriness, as indicated by the prolonged low concentrations of prolactin in the blood. Herein, hamsters were exposed to either 8 L:16 D or 12 L:12 D from weaning and by 28 weeks exposure to either photoperiod, the hamsters had large testes (following recrudescence from a photoperiod induced-regression). Transfer to 8 L:16 D from 12 L:12 D at 28 weeks resulted in a second testicular regression and recrudescence. In a second experiment, the testes of hamsters moved to 8 L:16 D from 12 L:12 D after 29 weeks exposure to the latter photoperiod similarly regressed and then regrew. Serum concentrations of prolactin decreased in these males after transfer to the shorter daylength but also decreased in hamsters kept under 12 L:12 D; both groups were usually below those of hamsters moved to 14 L:10 D. These results show that exposure for 28 or 29 weeks to 12 L:12 D was insufficient to induce photorefractoriness, despite the recrudescence of the testes following involution.

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R. S. Donham, M. D. Rollag, and M. H. Stetson

Summary. In female hamsters, the daily rhythm of LH appeared on the 15th or 16th day after birth with a peak occurring at about 16:00 h (14L:10D, lights on 06:00 h). Progesterone concentrations increased and became rhythmic a few days later. In serum samples collected at 14, 16, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40 and 60–62 days of age between 13:00 and 23:00 h, significant rhythms of serum cortisol and corticosterone concentrations were not detected before 25 days of age; furthermore, the phase of the rhythms did not stabilize to the adult pattern until about 40 days of age. As in the adult, significant rhythms were present in both sexes and the levels of cortisol were greater than those of corticosterone. Injection of pig ACTH (50 i.u./kg body wt, i.p.) significantly increased serum cortisol by 10 days of age, but corticosterone did not respond until 25 days of age. Thus, for cortisol at least, the appearance of 24-h rhythms in the serum is probably not dependent on the ability of the adrenal to respond to ACTH. Ovariectomy had no effect on the late afternoon surge of serum cortisol; similarly, adrenalectomy of immature females did not abolish the surge of LH. Ovariectomy did not alter the daily rhythm of pineal melatonin content and pinealectomy had no effect on the daily afternoon surge of LH. These results demonstrate functional independence of circadian rhythms in the pituitary–gonadal axis and the pituitary–adrenal axis of the immature hamster and also independence of daily rhythms of pineal melatonin and pituitary release of LH.

Keywords: hamsters; rhythms; gonadotrophins; glucocorticoids; pineal