Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/8261
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Type: Journal article
Title: The coincidence of light and melatonin with a specific phase of the circadian pacemaker is important for the timing of seasonal breeding in the ewe
Author: Guerin, M.
Deed, J.
Matthews, C.
Citation: Journal of Biological Rhythms, 2000; 15(6):514-523
Publisher: Sage Publications Inc
Issue Date: 2000
ISSN: 0748-7304
1552-4531
Abstract: The timing of reproductive activity in seasonal breeding sheep relies on daily photoperiodic signals being relayed to provide information on the time of year. Although light and melatonin are involved, the exact mechanism is not understood. In this experiment, three groups of 6 Romney Marsh ewes, a highly seasonal breed, were provided with 8 weeks of short nights (9.6-9.8 h, by artificially advancing dawn) around the winter solstice, near the end of their natural breeding season. One group of animals was infused to a physiological level with melatonin for 5 h during the afternoon prior to the onset of dark, while a second group was identically infused but for 5 h from the time of lights on. A third group received the short-night treatment only. Following the short-night treatment, all groups were exposed to long nights (> 14 h, by delaying dawn) until the summer solstice. Ovarian activity, assessed by progesterone monitoring twice weekly, showed that the noninfused and the morning-infused groups displayed renewed reproductive activity in response to the short-night/long-night treatment. There was no renewed ovarian activity in the afternoon-infused group, indicating that the time of day that melatonin is present, rather than the duration of melatonin exposure, is an important signal in the control of reproductive timing. Measurements of a marker of the endogenous circadian pacemaker, by melatonin measurements under acutely extended darkness, revealed that the short-night treatments phase advanced the onset of the pacemaker in all groups such that the afternoon phase of the pacemaker was coincident with light. The results provide strong support for the model that proposes that an afternoon-located sensitive phase of the pacemaker is responsible for the relay of photoperiodic signals in the timing control of seasonal breeding. The model proposes that the reproductive axis be primed during short nights when the sensitive phase is coincident with light in the afternoon so ovarian activity can be induced when the sensitive phase is located within the longer nights of autumn and coincident with endogenous melatonin.
Keywords: Ovary; Animals; Sheep; Melatonin; Progesterone; Seasons; Circadian Rhythm; Light; Darkness; Photoperiod; Female; Biomarkers
RMID: 0001001101
DOI: 10.1177/074873040001500608
Appears in Collections:Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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