Diurnal and seasonal fluctuations were detected in luteinizing hormone (LH) interpulse interval, but not amplitude, in ewes examined during the mid-luteal phase of an oestrous cycle at five stages of the breeding season. Daytime and night-time LH interpulse intervals were greater in the early and late than in the mid-breeding season (P < 0.05). During the early and late breeding season, LH interpulse interval was less during daylight than during darkness (P < 0.05). Toward the mid-breeding season, interpulse interval decreased during daytime earlier in the season than the night-time decrease. It was concluded that the diurnal fluctuations observed are a component of a circannual rhythm in LH secretion resulting from gradual seasonal transitions in photoperiodic drive to, or an endogenous rhythm in, the hypothalamic–pituitary axis in ewes.
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