Estradiol Phase Shifts Circannual Body Mass Rhythms Of Male Ground Squirrels

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American Journal Of Physiology: Regulatory Integrative And Comparative Physiology


Gonadectomized male golden-mantled ground squirrels (Spermophilus lateralis) were implanted with estradiol benzoate (EB)-filled or empty capsules. Body mass was monitored before, during, and for at least 1 yr after hormone treatment. EB treatment during the mass-gain phase of the annual cycle significantly decelerated increases in body mass; the period of the circannual rhythm (CAR) of body mass was 54 days longer in EB- than blank-treated squirrels. Hormone treatment during the mass-loss phase accelerated mass loss; although this effect only approached statistical significance, some phase markers of the CAR were significantly advanced in subsequent cycles. We conclude that, as in females, estradiol affects the waveform of the CAR of males differently at different phases of the circannual cycle. Sexual differentiation does not eliminate responsiveness of CARs of squirrels to estradiol; sex differences, if any, are subtle rather than absolute and, in this respect, differ from circadian rhythms.


This work has been provided to PubMed Central courtesy of the American Physiological Society.