Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Differential reproductive response to short photoperiod in deer mice: role of melatonin

  • 44 Accesses

  • 21 Citations

Summary

Inhibitory photoperiod differentially effects reproduction in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus nebrascensis). Pituitary-testicular function is arrested in about one-third of short-day exposed males (reproductively responsive mice), while an equal number remain fertile (reproductively nonresponsive mice). Both phenotypes are found in natural populations and their disparate reproductive responses have a genetic basis. To assess whether this difference is attributable to a prepineal/pineal or post-pineal mechanism, we compared spermatogenic responses of known and unknown phenotype to exogenous melatonin. Melatonin significantly reduced mean sperm number in long-day housed mice of unknown phenotype. But, individual responses ranged from azoospermia to normal spermatogenesis, and this range was not significantly different from that previously recorded for short-day exposed mice. Reproductively nonresponsive males were unaffected by melatonin administration when housed under long or short daylength. In contrast, melatonin significantly suppressed sperm production in reproductively responsive males housed under long photoperiod, but had no additional suppressive effect in short-day housed mice with regressed testes. These data demonstrate that melatonin is only effective in eliciting testicular regression in reproductively responsive males. Taken together, these results suggest that differential testicular response to photoperiod are caused by a post-pineal mechanism.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Abbreviations

LD :

long day

SD :

short day

16L:8D :

16 h light, 8 h dark

8L:16D :

8 h light, 16 h dark

References

  1. Bartness TJ, Goldman BD (1988) Effects of melatonin on long day responses in short day-housed adult Siberian hamsters. Am J Physiol 255: R823–830

  2. Bartness TJ, Goldman BD, Bittman EL (1991) SCN lesions block responses to systemic melatonin infusions in Siberian hamsters. Am J Physiol 260: R102-R112

  3. Bittman EL, Goldman BD, Zucker I (1979) Testicular responses to melatonin are altered by lesions of the suprachiasmatic nuclei in golden hamsters. Biol Reprod 21:647–656

  4. Bittman EL, Bartness TJ, Goldman BD, Devries GJ (1991) Suprachiasmatic and paraventricular control of photoperiodism in Siberian hamsters. Am J Physiol 260: R90-R101

  5. Blank JL, Desjardins C (1983) Spermatogenesis is modified by food intake in mice. Biol Reprod 30:410–415

  6. Blank JL, Desjardins C (1985) Differential effects of food restriction on pituitary-testicular function in mice. Am J Physiol 248:R181-R189

  7. Blank JL, Desjardins C (1986) Photic cues induce multiple neuroendocrine adjustments in testicular function. Am J Physiol 250:R199-R206

  8. Blank JL, Nelson RJ, Vaughan MK, Reiter RJ (1988a) Pineal melatonin content in photoperiodically responsive and nonresponsive phenotypes of deer mice. Comp Biochem Physiol 91: 535–537

  9. Blank JL, Nelson RJ, Buchberger A (1988b) Cytochrome oxidase activity in brown fat varies with reproductive response and use of torpor in deer mice. Physiol Behav 43:301–306

  10. Bronson FW (1987) Environmental regulation of reproduction in rodents. In: Crews D (ed) Psychobiology of reproductive behavior: an evolutionary approach. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, pp 204–230

  11. Carlson LL, Zimmermann A, Lynch GR (1989) Geographic differences for delay of puberty in Peromyscus leucopus: effects of photoperiod, pinealectomy, and melatonin. Biol Reprod 41:1004–1013

  12. Darrow JM, Goldman BD (1986) Circadian regulation of pineal melatonin and reproduction in the Djungarian hamster. J Biol Rhythms 1: 39–54

  13. Desjardins C, Lopez MJ (1983) Environmental cues evoke differential responses in pituitary-testicular function in deer mice. Endocrinol 112: 1398–1406

  14. Desjardins C, Bronson FH, Blank JL (1986) Genetic selection for reproductive photoresponsiveness in deer mice. Nature 322: 172–173

  15. Devries MJ, Ferreira SA, Glass JD (1989) Evidence that short photoperiod-induced gonadal regression in the Mongolian gerbil is mediated by the action of melatonin in the medial hypothalamus. Brain Res 494: 241–246

  16. Dowell SF, Lynch GR (1987) Duration of the melatonin pulse in the hypothalamus controls testicular function in pinealectomized mice (Peromyscus leucopus). Biol Reprod 36:1095–1101

  17. Glass JD (1988) Neuroendocrine regulation of seasonal reproduction by the pineal gland and melatonin. In: Reiter RJ (ed) Pineal research reviews. Alan Liss, New York, pp 219–259

  18. Glass JD, Knotts LK (1987) A brain site for the antigonadal action of melatonin in the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus): Involvement of the immunoreactive GnRH neuronal system. Neuroendocrinol 46:48–53

  19. Glass JD, Lynch GR (1981) Melatonin: indentification of sites of action in mouse brain. Science 214:821–823

  20. Goldman BD, Darrow JM (1983) The pineal gland and mammalian photoperiodism. Neuroendocrinol 37:386–396

  21. Golley FB (1962) Mammals of Georgia. Univ Georgia Press, Athens

  22. Gram WD, Heath HW, Wichman HA, Lynch GR (1982) Geographic variation in Peromyscus leucopus: short-day induced reproductive regression and spontaneous recrudescence. Biol Reprod 27:369–373

  23. Hastings MH, Roberts AC, Herbert J (1985) Neurotoxic lesions of the anterior hypothalamus disrupt the photoperiodic but not the circadian system of the Syrian hamster. Neurosci 24:987–991

  24. Heath HW, Lynch GR (1982) Intraspecific differences for melatonin-induced reproductive regression and the seasonal molt in Peromyscus leucopus. Gen Comp Endocrinol 48:289–295

  25. Heldmaier G, Lynch GR (1986) Pineal involvement in thermoregulation and acclimatization. Pineal Res Rev 4:97–139

  26. Karsch FJ, Bittman EL, Foster DL, Goodman RL, Legan SL, Robinson JE (1984) Neuroendocrine basis of seasonal reproduction. Rec Prog Horm Res 40:185–231

  27. Lincoln GA, Short RV (1980) Seasonal breeding: Nature's contraceptive. Rec Prog Horm Res 36:1–52

  28. Lopez MJ (1981) Reproductive and temporal adaptation to seasonal change in the deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. Ph.D. Diss, Univ Texas, Austin

  29. Lynch GR, Epstein AL (1976) Melatonin induced changes in gonads, pelage and thermogenic characters in the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus. Comp Biochem Physiol C 53:67–68

  30. Lynch GR, Gendler SL (1980) Multiple responses to a short day photoperiod occur in the mouse, Peromyscus leucopus. Oecologia 45:318–321

  31. Lynch GR, Vogt FD, Smith HR (1978) Seasonal study of spontaneous torpor in the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus. Physiol Zool 51:289–295

  32. Millar JS (1984) Reproduction and survival in Peromyscus in seasonal environments. In: Merrit JF (ed) Winter ecology of small mammals. Carnegie Museum Natural History 10:253–266

  33. Nie NH, Hull CH, Jenkins JG, Steinbrenner K, Bent DH (1975) Statistical package for the social sciences. McGraw Hill, New York, pp 280–290

  34. Reiter RJ (1987) The melatonin message: duration versus conincidence hypotheses. Life Sci 40:2119–2131

  35. Reiter RJ, Dinh DT, de Los Santos R, Guerra JC (1982) Hypothalamic cuts suggest a brain site for the antigonadal action of melatonin in the Syrian hamster. Neurosci Lett 23:315–518

  36. Rusak B (1980) Suprachiasmatic lesions prevent an antigonadal effect of melatonin. Biol Reprod 22:148–154

  37. Turek FW, Campbell CS (1979) Photoperiodic regulation of neuroendocrine activity. Biol Reprod 20:32–43

  38. Turek FW, Elliot JA, Alvis JG, Menaker M (1975) Effect of prolonged exposure to nonstimulatory photoperiods on the activity of the neuroendocrine-testicular axis of golden hamsters. Biol Reprod 13:475–481

  39. Turner RW (1974) Mammals of the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming. Univ Kansas Museum Nat Hist Publ 60:96–103

  40. Weaver ER, Carlson LL, Reppert SM (1990) Melatonin receptors and signal transduction in melatonin-sensitive and melatonininsensitive populations of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus). Brain Res 506:353–357

  41. Wright S (1978) Evolution and the genetics of populations: Variability within and among natural populations (Vol 4). Univ Chicago Press, London New York

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to J. L. Blank.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Blank, J.L., Freeman, D.A. Differential reproductive response to short photoperiod in deer mice: role of melatonin. J Comp Physiol A 169, 501–506 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00197662

Download citation

Key words

  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis
  • Melatonin
  • Photoperiod
  • Deer mice