Young of short-day-responsive (SDR/Y) and short-day-nonresponsive (SDNR/Y) Siberian hamsters were reared in a long (16L:8D) photoperiod. At weaning, males from both lineages were maintained in 16L:8D or transferred to a short (12L:12D) photoperiod; body weight and testis size were measured every 7-10 days until 45 or 140 days of age. Contrary to expected results, juvenile SDNR/Ys responded to the inhibitory effects of the shorter photoperiods with decreased body weight and inhibited testicular growth. Under the long photoperiods, SDR/Y and SDNR/Y animals exhibited accelerated body weight gains and testicular growth from 18 to 69 days of age. Beginning at 69 days of age, however, SDNR/Ys exhibited a transient decrease in testis size that troughed at 86 days of age; testis growth subsequently resumed. Consistent with their ability to respond to short photoperiods, SDNR/Y young, in a second experiment, showed locomotor activity patterns similar to those of SDR/Ys in short days (9L:15D). It was only in adult SDNR/Ys that the delayed onset of activity characteristic of nonresponders was apparent. These results indicate that the circadian system of nonresponders changes with age, rendering animals nonresponsive to short photoperiods. The period of transient testicular decline observed in SDNR/Ys housed in 16L:8D may mark a critical period in the onset of these changes; additional studies are required to test this hypothesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology