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

A study of the relationship between photoperiod and pinealocyte granulated vesicles in the golden Syrian hamster


Previous studies in rabbits and mice have revealed distinct circadian rhythms in the number of pinealocyte granulated vesicles (PGVs) and control of their synthesis and/or secretion by sympathetic nerves. The present study demonstrates the absence of a circadian rhythm in PGV content in hamsters “functionally pinealectomized” by maintenance under long photoperiod (L/D=14/10 h). On the other hand, a highly significant rhythm of low amplitude was noted in PGVs of hamsters placed in photoperiods (<12.5 h) which are known to initiate pineal antigonadotropic activity. Bilateral optic enucleation, which also leads to pineal-mediated gonadal atrophy in the hamster, produced a significant decrease in the number of perivascular PGVs when compared to intact control animals. Daily late afternoon injections of melatonin produced no significant difference in the number of PGVs between treated and control animals at any sample time examined.

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


  1. Barratt GF, Nadakavukaren MJ, Frehn JL (1977) Effect of melatonin implants on gonadal weights and pineal gland fine structure of the golden hamster. Tissue and Cell 9:335–345

  2. Benson B, Krasovich M (1977) Circadian rhythm in the number of granulated vesicles in the pinealocytes of mice. Effects of sympathectomy and melatonin treatment. Cell Tissue Res 184:499–506

  3. Clabough JW (1971) Ultrastructural features of the pineal gland in normal and light-deprived golden hamsters. Z Zellforsch 114:151–164

  4. Duffy DE, Markesberry WR (1970) Granulated vesicles in sympathetic nerve endings in the pineal gland: Observations on the effects of pharmacologic agents by electron microscopy. Am J Anat 128:97–116

  5. Elliott J (1976) Circadian rhythms and photoperiodic time measurement in mammals. Fed Proc Am Socs Exp Biol 35:2339–2346

  6. Gaston S, Menaker M (1967) Photoperiodic control of hamster testis. Science 158:925–927

  7. Hewing M (1980) Synaptic ribbons in the pineal system of normal and light-deprived golden hamsters. Anat Embryol 159:71–80

  8. Hoffman RA, Reiter RJ (1965) Pineal gland; influence on gonads of male hamsters. Science 142:1609–1611

  9. Huang H-T, Lin H-S, Lu K-S (1979) Ultrastructural localization of monoamines in nerve fibers of the pineal gland in golden hamsters. J Neural Transm 45:253–264

  10. Jaim-Etcheverry JG, Zieher LM (1968) Cytochemistry of 5-hydroxytryptamine at the electron microscope level. II. Localization in the autonomic nerves of the rat pineal gland. Z Zellforsch 86:393–400

  11. Juillard MT (1979) The proteinaceous content and possible physiological significance of dense-cored vesicles in hamster and mouse pinealocytes. Ann Biol Anim Bioch Biophys 19:413–428

  12. Juillard MT, Collin JP (1980) Pools of serotonin in the pineal gland of the mouse: the mammalian pinealocyte as a component of the diffuse neuroendocrine system. Cell Tissue Res 213:273–291

  13. Kachi T (1979) Demonstration of circadian rhythm in granular vesicle number in pinealocytes of mice and the effect of light: semiquantitative electron microscopic study. J Anat 129:603–614

  14. Karasek M (1974) Ultrastructure of rat pineal gland culture: Influence of norepinephrine, dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3′, 5′-monophosphate and adenohypophysis. Endokrinologie 64:106–114

  15. Karasek M (1981) Some functional aspects of the ultrastructure of rat pinealocytes. Endocrinol Exp (Bratisl) 15:17–34

  16. Krasovich M, Benson B (1979) Effects of reserpine and p-chlorophenylalanine on the circadian rhythm of granulated vesicles in the pinealocytes of mice. Cell Tissue Res 203:457–467

  17. Lin H-S, Hwang B-H, Tseng C-Y (1975) Fine structural changes in the hamster pineal gland after blinding and superior cervical ganglionectomy. Cell Tissue Res 158:285–299

  18. Lu K-S, Lin H-S (1979) Cytochemical studies on cytoplasmic granular elements in the hamster pineal gland. Histochem J 61:177–187

  19. Matsushima S, Ito T (1972) Diurnal changes in sympathetic nerve endings in the mouse pineal: Semiquantitative electron microscopic observations. J Neural Transm 33:275–288

  20. Matsushima S, Morisawa Y, Mukai S (1979) Diurnal variation in large granulated vesicles in sympathetic nerve fibers of the mouse pineal. Quantitative electron microscopic observations. J Neural Transm 45:63–73

  21. Matsushima S, Morisawa Y, Mukai S (1981) Functional morphology of sympathetic nerve fibers in the pineal gland of mammals. In: Reiter RJ (ed) The pineal gland. Anatomy and Biochemistry. CRC Press, Inc, Vol 1, pp 95–120

  22. Morgan WW, Reiter RJ, Pfeil KA (1976) Hamster pineal noradrenaline: Levels over a regulated lighting period and the influence of superior cervical ganglionectomy. Life Sci 19:437–440

  23. Pellegrino de Iraldi A (1966) Granular vesicles in pinealocytes of the hamster. Anat Rec 154:481

  24. Pévet P (1977) On the presence of different populations of pinealocytes in the mammalian pineal gland. J Neural Transm 40:289–304

  25. Pévet P (1979) Secretory processes in the mammalian pinealocytes under natural and experimental conditions. In: Ariëns Kappers J, Pévet P (eds) Progress in brain research. The pineal gland of vertebrates including man. Elsevier/North Holland, Amsterdam, Vol 52, pp 149–194

  26. Pévet P, Karasek M (1977) Are the pineal active compounds of mammals proteinaceous in nature? — An ultrastructural contribution. Acta Med Pol 18:315–353

  27. Quay WB (1974) Pineal chemistry. In: Kugelmass IN (ed) Cellular and physiological mechanisms. Springfield, Ill, Charles C Thomas

  28. Reynolds ES (1963) The use of lead citrate at high pH as an electron-opaque stain in electron microscopy. J Cell Biol 17:208–212

  29. Romijn HJ (1975) Electron microscopy of the rabbit pineal gland after sympathectomy, para-sympathectomy, continuous illumination and continuous darkness. J Neural Transm 36:183–194

  30. Romijn HJ, Gelsema AJ (1976) Electron microscopy of the rabbit pineal organ in vitro. Evidence of norepinephrine-stimulated activity of the Golgi apparatus. Cell Tissue Res 172:365–377

  31. Romijn HJ, Mud MT, Wolters PS (1976) Diurnal variations in number of Golgi-dense-core vesicles in light pinealocytes of the rabbit. J Neural Transm 38:231–237

  32. Sheridan MN (1975) Pineal gland fine structure. Dense-cored vesicles. In: Knigge KM, Scott DE, Kobayashi H, Ishii S (eds) Brain-endocrine interaction. II. The ventricular system 2nd Int Symp, Shizuoka 1974. Karger, Basel, pp 324–336

  33. Steinberg V, Rowe V, Watanabe I, Parr J (1981) Effects of norepinephrine and dibutyryl adenosine 3′, 5′cyclic monophosphate on the ultrastructure of pineal cells in monolayer culture. Cell Tissue Res 216:181–191

  34. Upson RH, Benson B (1977) Effects of blinding on the ultrastructure of mouse pinealocytes with particular emphasis on the dense-cored vesicles. Cell Tissue Res 183:491–498

  35. Upson RH, Benson B, Satterfield V (1976) Quantitation of ultrastructural changes in the mouse pineal in response to continuous illumination. Anat Rec 184:311–324

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Ms. Margaret Krasovich.

Additional information

Supported in part by N.I.H. Grant#HD08759

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Krasovich, M., Benson, B. A study of the relationship between photoperiod and pinealocyte granulated vesicles in the golden Syrian hamster. Cell Tissue Res. 223, 155–163 (1982).

Download citation

Key words

  • Pineal gland (hamster)
  • Pinealocyte
  • Granulated vesicles
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Photoperiod