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Scientific article
English

Pinealectomy and gonadectomy modulate amplitude, but not photoperiodic modulation of Clock gene expression in the Syrian hamster suprachiasmatic nuclei

Publication date2021
Abstract

The duration of daytime light phase (photoperiod) controls reproduction in seasonal mammals. Syrian hamsters are sexually active when exposed to long photoperiod, while gonadal atrophy is observed after exposure to short photoperiod. The photorefractory period, or photorefractoriness, is a particular state of spontaneous recrudescence of sexual activity that occurs after a long-term exposure to short photoperiod. Expression of core clock genes in the master circadian clock contained in the suprachiasmatic nuclei depends on photoperiodic conditions. Interestingly, the expression of the Clock gene is also modified in photorefractory Syrian hamsters. Since melatonin and testosterone levels in seasonal species are dependent on photoperiod, photoperiodic variations of Clock mRNA levels in the suprachiasmatic clock could be a consequence of these hormonal changes. To test this hypothesis, we analysed the effects of pinealectomy on Clock mRNA changes due to long to short photoperiod transition and of gonadectomy on Clock mRNA levels in photorefractory period. Our data show that the suprachiasmatic integration of the short photoperiod (assessed by a rhythmic expression profile of Clock) is independent of the presence of melatonin. Furthermore, constitutively low expression of Clock observed during the photorefractory period does not require the presence of either melatonin or testosterone. However, we show that both hormones provide positive feedback on average levels of Clock expression. Thus, our data support the hypothesis that daily variations of Clock levels in the suprachiasmatic nuclei are influenced by photoperiodic changes and the time spent in short photoperiod, independently of seasonal modifications of melatonin or testosterone levels.

Keywords
  • Biological rhythms
  • Clock genes
  • Pineal gland
  • Refractory state
  • Testis
Citation (ISO format)
CHAKIR, Ibtissam et al. Pinealectomy and gonadectomy modulate amplitude, but not photoperiodic modulation of Clock gene expression in the Syrian hamster suprachiasmatic nuclei. In: European Journal of Neuroscience, 2021. doi: 10.1111/ejn.15228
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ISSN of the journal0953-816X
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