Photoperiodic control and effects of melatonin on nonshivering thermogenesis and brown adipose tissue

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Science  22 May 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4497, pp. 917-919
DOI: 10.1126/science.7233183


Exposure to a short photoperiod improved the thermogenic capacity, and cold resistance of Djungarian hamsters and increased the respiratory power of their brown adipose tissue. Exposure to a long photoperiod caused a decrease in thermogenic measurements. This thermotropic action of the short photoperiod was detectable only during late summer and fall. A similar thermotropic response could be elicited by implanting hamsters with melatonin, indicating that the pineal may be involved in photoperiodic control of thermoregulatory effectors.

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