The Mammalian Pineal Gland and Reproduction

Controversies and Strategies for Future Research
  • James Olcese
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 377)


Evidence for a role of the pineal gland and its major hormonal product, melatonin, in mammalian reproduction has accumulated for over three decades. In sorting through the masses of data pertaining to this issue, certain facts are becoming established. For example, the pineal gland is clearly involved in seasonal reproductive cycles via transduction of daylength (more properly nightlength) information in the form of plasma melatonin rhythms. Specific melatonin receptors are found in the hypothalamus and pituitary pars tuberalis of most of the mammalian species examined thus far. Melatonin’s mode of action on the reproductive axis is quite variable but may, in many cases, involve modulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion from the median eminence. Clinical evidence continues to support the idea that melatonin may play a role in the timing of puberty.


Pineal Gland Syrian Hamster Median Eminence Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Melatonin Receptor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Olcese
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Hormone and Fertility ResearchUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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