Impact of photoperiodic exposures during late gestation and lactation periods on the pineal and reproductive physiology of the Indian palm squirrel, Funnambulus pennanti

K. S. Bishnupuri, C. Haldar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Studies on the maternal transfer of photoperiodic information in mammals indicate that the daily photoperiod perceived by the mother during the gestation-lactation period is communicated to the fetus either through the placenta or via the milk. However, the impact of photoperiodic exposures during gestation and lactation on the maternal pineal and reproductive physiology has not been reported for any tropical rodent. The exposure of pregnant female Indian palm squirrels (Funambulus pennanti) to constant light (24 h light:0 h dark), constant dark (0 h light: 24 h dark), long daylength (14 h light: 10 h dark) or short daylength (10 h light: 14 h dark) during early gestation (< 30 days) resulted in the resorption of pregnancy, while during late gestation (> 30 days), it did not interfere with the maintenance of pregnancy. Alterations in photoperiodic condition during late gestation and lactation altered the postpartum recovery process. Pineal gland activity, as assessed by pineal mass, protein content and plasma melatonin, was lowest during the breeding phase, but increased gradually after parturition until the next breeding phase. During gestation and lactation, constant light, long daylength and short daylength conditions were less effective, while constant dark condition had a profound effect in depressing pineal gland activity, which subsequently advanced postpartum recovery. Hence, lactating females under constant darkness prepare themselves for next mating much earlier than females under natural daylength (12 h light:12 h dark) conditions. Therefore, photoperiodic information, mediated via the pineal gland, may be important for maintaining gestation physiology as well as postpartum recovery in female rodents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Fertility
Volume118
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

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