Daily Timed Melatonin Feedings Mimic Effects Of Short Days On Testis Regression And Cortisol In Circulation In Siberian Hamsters

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General And Comparative Endocrinology


This study tested the efficacy of timed oral administration of melatonin as an alternative both to invasive methods (daily injections, timed infusions) and to untimed oral administration in Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus), an important model for the study of photoperiodism. Hamsters readily consumed a small piece of melatonin-treated apple immediately when presented and circulating melatonin was rapidly elevated with a half-life of approximately 3.5 h. Melatonin-treated apple was fed to hamsters for 3 weeks at 2 h before lights off to extend the duration of the nighttime rise in endogenous melatonin. Melatonin treatment induced testicular regression and elevated serum cortisol, effects comparable to those in hamsters exposed to short days. These findings support the hypothesis that timed oral administration of melatonin can mimic the effects of short days and provide a method by which melatonin can be delivered without the potentially confounding effects of handling and injection stress.

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