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Interactions between the circadian and reproductive systems of the female Syrian hamster

Horacio O de la Iglesia, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In rodents, there exists a strong interaction between the reproductive and circadian systems. For this thesis the female hamster was used as a model for the study of this interaction. Studies described in chapter II investigated whether the circadian regulation of reproductive processes may be through direct input of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) to neurons containing estrogen receptor (ER) and/or to neurons containing luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH). The anterograde tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L) was applied to the SCN and double label immunocytochemistry for PHA-L and either ER or LHRH was carried out. Both ER- and LHRH-immunoreactive cells show appositions with SCN efferents or with efferents of the subparaventricular nucleus and the retrochiasmatic area. Results suggest that the circadian system can regulate reproductive processes via input to LHRH- and/or ER-containing neurons. Studies described in chapter 111 investigated whether effects of estrogen on circadian rhythms may be exerted through estrogen-binding systems afferent to the SCN. Immunocytochemistry for ER and the retrograde tracer cholera toxin B subunit, after its application to the SCN, demonstrated that some areas contain relatively high percentages of SCN afferent neurons which show ER immunoreactivity. Retrograde tracing results were compared with results of anterograde tracing from some of the sites containing SCN afferents. Furthermore, using a combined retrograde and anterograde tracing technique, SCN input to some SCN afferent neurons was demonstrated. However, no evidence of reciprocity between single ER-immunoreactive cells and the SCN was found. Results indicate the existence of estrogen binding systems afferent to the SCN which might mediate the effects of gonadal steroid hormones on circadian rhythms. Studies in chapter IV analyze the effects of blockade of SCN axonal output by local unilateral application of tetrodotoxin (TTX) on the LH surge. Injections of TTX on either the morning or the afternoon of proestrus were unable to block the LH surge. Results favor the interpretation that the SCN output signal responsible of the circadian gating of the LH surge occurs before the onset of the light period on the day of proestrus.

Subject Area

Neurology|Anatomy & physiology|Animals

Recommended Citation

de la Iglesia, Horacio O, "Interactions between the circadian and reproductive systems of the female Syrian hamster" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9823729.