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Photoperiod, melatonin secretion, and sexual maturation in a tropical rodent.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biology of Reproduction
0006-3363
Publisher
Society for the Study of Reproduction
Publication Date
Volume
43
Issue
5
Pages
745–750
Identifiers
PMID: 2291910
Source
Medline

Abstract

Descendants of a sample of cane mice (Zygodontomys brevicauda) trapped at 8 degrees latitude in Venezuela were tested for reproductive photoresponsiveness. This species breeds continuously, year around, despite living in a seasonally harsh habitat. At 50 days of age there were no differences in the weights of the testes or seminal vesicles or in sperm counts of males born and reared on 16L:8D, 13L:11D, 11L:13D, or 8L:16D photoperiods, although there were small differences in body weight. Females born and reared on 16L:8D vs. 8L:16D cycles became pregnant at the same rates and ages when paired with males at 21 or 31 days of age. The daily duration of melatonin secretion depended on the length of the dark phase of the cycle in both sexes. Circulating levels of melatonin were elevated for 8 h on a 16L:8D cycle and for between 9 and 16 h on an 8L:16D cycle. In this tropical species, the neuroendocrine pathway that links photoperiod to reproduction apparently is disconnected somewhere between melatonin and gonadotropin secretion, causing cane mice to be reproductively unresponsive to variation in photoperiod.

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