Spleen Morphology and Lymphoproliferative Activity in Short Photoperiod Exposed Hamsters
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One of the major functions of the pineal gland is believed to be the seasonal regulation of physiological capability in a variety of species (Reiter, 1983). Those species which modify their physiological state on an annual basis are believed to use the pineal gland and its hormone, melatonin, to prepare and respond to upcoming seasons. The pineal utilizes the photoperiod to alter its synthesis of melatonin on a daily basis. This rhythm in melatonin production is interpreted by structures, presumably in the central nervous system, which reorganize the animals’ physiologic systems (Hastings, 1989). This reorganization would increase the probability of survival of the animals and their offspring. The regulation of the reproductive system has received extensive investigation, while other physiologic systems have received only cursory examination. One of the systems that is receiving increasing study is the seasonal and photoperiodic regulation of the immune system. The pineal has been implicated as a major participant in immunomodulation modifying both the response to infection (Maestroni, Conti, and Pierpaoli, 1988) and the response to neoplastic cells (Blask, 1984; Lissoni, et al., 1989); for additional information, see articles by these authors within these proceedings.
KeywordsPineal Gland Testis Weight Natural Killer Activity Short Photoperiod Spleen Weight
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