Decreased testosterone levels do not mediate short-photoperiod-induced brown fat changes

K. S. Kott, B. J. Moore, Barbara A Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Previous studies showed that short photoperiod increased brown fat (BAT) mass and reduced gonadal size and gonadal hormone secretion in hamsters. The present study investigated the possibility that the effects on BAT were dependent on reduced levels of gonadal hormones. BAT from male Syrian hamsters exposed to short photoperiod for 10 wk was significantly greater in mass, protein content, and total maximal citrate synthase and β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase activities than was BAT from long-photoperiod hamsters. These differences between short- and long-photoperiod exposure were observed in hamsters housed at 21 as well as at 8°C. Short photoperiod also increased the total recovered mitochondrial GDP binding, a finding consistent with increased BAT thermogenic capacity. These short-photoperiod effects were neither mimicked by castration of long-photoperiod hamsters nor prevented by high levels of testosterone administered to short-photoperiod animals. Castration did attenuate the effects of short photoperiod on BAT growth if, after surgery and prior to short-photoperiod exposure, the animals were housed at a long photoperiod for 2-3 wk. In contrast, in hamsters immediately placed at short photoperiod after surgery, castration did not inhibit short-photoperiod effects. The present three experiments demonstrate that, in addition to increasing BAT mass, short photoperiod elevates the thermogenic capacity of BAT, and this elevation does not require the absence or a much reduced testosterone level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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