Hyperprolactinemia prevents short photoperiod-induced changes in brown fat

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

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Previous studies demonstrated that short photoperiod exposure significantly decreases circulating prolactin levels. The present study investigated the possibility that concomitant changes in brown fat tissue mass, protein content, thermogenic capacity, and carcass composition are dependent on this change in prolactin levels. Male golden (Syrian) hamsters were sham operated and exposed to a short (10L:14D) or long (14L:10D) photoperiod. A third group was implanted with exogenous pituitaries under the right kidney capsule and exposed to a short photoperiod. In experiment 1, 4 wk of short- vs. long-photoperiod exposure did not result in significant changes in circulating prolactin levels, nor was there an increase in brown fat mass, protein content, or thermogenic capacity. Four weeks of short-photoperiod exposure did significantly increase carcass lipid content. However, this increase did not occur in hamsters exposed to 4 wk of short photoperiod but made hyperprolactinemic (implanted with two exogenous pituitaries). Ten weeks of short photoperiod significantly reduced circulating prolactin levels. Concomitantly, brown fat mass, protein content, and thermogenic capacity, as well as carcass fat, were increased. These short-photoperiod-induced changes were not observed in similarly exposed hamsters that were made hyperprolactinemic via two implanted pituitaries. In experiment II, similar changes in brown fat and body composition occurred in sham-operated hamsters exposed to 10 wk of short photoperiod. These changes were prevented in hamsters exposed to 10 wk of short photoperiod but made hyperprolactinemic via only one implanted pituitary. These results suggest that decreased prolactin is a necessary condition for the increased brown fat mass, protein content, and thermogenic capacity that occurs when golden hamsters are exposed to short photoperiod.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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