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Pineal-dependent increase of hypothalamic neurogenesis contributes to the timing of seasonal reproduction in sheep

Abstract : To survive in temperate latitudes, species rely on the photoperiod to synchronize their physiological functions, including reproduction, with the predictable changes in the environment. In sheep, exposure to decreasing day length reactivates the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, while during increasing day length, animals enter a period of sexual rest. Neural stem cells have been detected in the sheep hypothalamus and hypothalamic neurogenesis was found to respond to the photoperiod. However, the physiological relevance of this seasonal adult neurogenesis is still unexplored. This longitudinal study, therefore aimed to thoroughly characterize photoperiod-stimulated neurogenesis and to investigate whether the hypothalamic adult born-cells were involved in the seasonal timing of reproduction. Results showed that time course of cell proliferation reached a peak in the middle of the period of sexual activity, corresponding to decreasing day length period. This enhancement was suppressed when animals were deprived of seasonal time cues by pinealectomy, suggesting a role of melatonin in the seasonal regulation of cell proliferation. Furthermore, when the mitotic blocker cytosine-b-D-arabinofuranoside was administered centrally, the timing of seasonal reproduction was affected. Overall, our findings link the cyclic increase in hypothalamic neurogenesis to seasonal reproduction and suggest that photoperiod-regulated hypothalamic neurogenesis plays a substantial role in seasonal reproductive physiology.
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Martine Batailler, Didier Chesneau, Laura Derouet, Lucile Butruille, Stéphanie Segura, et al.. Pineal-dependent increase of hypothalamic neurogenesis contributes to the timing of seasonal reproduction in sheep. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, pp.1-13. ⟨10.1038/s41598-018-24381-4⟩. ⟨hal-02621650⟩

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