Photoperiod Regulation of Mineralocorticoid Receptor mRNA Expression in Hamster Hippocampus

Document Type


Publication Date



Hippocampal mineralocorticoid receptor mRNA expression was increased in male hamsters exposed to 18 days of short photoperiod relative to animals maintained under long day illumination (p < 0.05). Short day hamsters were also characterized by increased weight gain, and heavier adrenal glands (p < 0.05). The larger adrenals showed selective increases in the widths of the zonae reticularis and glomerulosa (p < 0.001). Incidences of torpor and reduced body temperature were observed in the short day animals. No changes were found in reproductive organ weights, systolic blood pressure, open-field behavior, or stress levels of plasma corticosteroids. We conclude that the hamster brain-adrenal axis responds rapidly to changes in photoperiod, raising the possibility that this axis is a primary mediator of shortened photoperiod responses.