Effect of Different Photoperiods on Gonadal Maintenance and Development in Mongolian Gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus)(Reproductive Biology)
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The role of photoperiod in adult testicular maintenance and body weight and juvenile development was assessed in male Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). Gerbils were raised on a 14L (14 hr of light) photoperiod. In the first study, adult gerbils with functional testes were transferred to thirteen different photoperiods (OL, 2L, 4L, 6L, 8L, 10L, 12L, 14L, 16L, 18L, 20L, 22L, or 24L) and body weights and testicular size were measured every week for 10 weeks. Body weights were similar in all groups. Testicular regression had occurred in animals housed on OL, 2L, 4L, 6L, 8L, and 24L by week 10. In the second study, 14L-born prepubertal gerbils were transferred to thirteen different photoperiods as in the first study. Body weights and testicular development were examined for 10 weeks. At the end of 10 weeks the body weights of animals in all groups except 24L were similar to those of adults. Animals in 24L had a lower body weight gain. Exposure to OL, 2L, and 24L inhibited testicular development and testes weights were significantly different from those of the other groups. These results demonstrate that maintenance of body weight in adult gerbils appears to be independent of photoperiodic signal. Exposure to very long (24L) and short photoperiods (<10 hr) causes testicular regression in adult gerbils. Moreover, different photoperiods experienced in early life can influence prepubertal testis growth and body weight gain.