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Neuroendocrine correlates of the critical day length response in the Soay sheep

Abstract : In mammals, melatonin is the hormone responsible for synchronisation of seasonal physiological cycles of physiology to the solar year. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland with a profile reflecting the duration of the night and acts via melatonin-responsive cells in the pituitary pars tuberalis (PT), which in turn modulate hypothalamic thyroid hormone status. Recent models suggest that the actions of melatonin in the PT depend critically on day length-dependent changes in the expression of eyes absent 3 (Eya3), which is a coactivator for thyrotrophin beta-subunit (Tsh beta) gene transcription. According to this model, short photoperiods suppress Eya3 and hence Tsh beta expression, whereas long photoperiods produce the inverse effect. Studies underpinning this model have relied on step changes in photoperiod (from 8 to 16 hours of light/24 hours) and have not compared the sensitive ranges of photoperiods for changes in Eya3 and Tsh beta expression with those for relevant downstream molecular and endocrine responses. We therefore performed a "critical day length" experiment in Soay sheep, in which animals acclimated to 8 hours of light/24 hours (SP) were exposed to a range of increased photoperiods spanning the range 11.75 to 16 hours (LP) and then responses at the level of the PT, hypothalamus and hormonal output were assessed. Although Eya3 and Tsh beta both showed the predicted SP vs LP differences, they responded quite differently to intermediate photoperiods within this range and, at the individual animal level, no clear Eya3-Tsh beta relationship could be seen. This result is inconsistent with a simple coactivator model for EYA3 action in the PT. Further downstream layers of nonlinearity were also seen in terms of the Tsh beta-dio2 and the dio2-testosterone relationships. We conclude that the transduction of progressive changes in photoperiod into transitions in endocrine output is an emergent property of a multistep signalling cascade within the mammalian neuroendocrine system.
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Contributor : Didier Lomet <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 3:39:16 PM
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David Hazlerigg, Didier Lomet, Gerald Lincoln, Hugues Dardente. Neuroendocrine correlates of the critical day length response in the Soay sheep. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, Wiley, 2018, 30 (9), pp.1-7. ⟨10.1111/jne.12631⟩. ⟨hal-03159537⟩



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