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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Trans-pineal microdialysis in the Djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus): a tool to study seasonal changes of circadian clock activities.

The Djungarian hamster is a highly seasonal small mammal. The rhythmic secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland is under control of the circadian clock, conveying the photoperiodic message to the organism. Trans-pineal microdialysis permits the in vivo study of this well-defined and precise clock output by measuring melatonin release directly in the pineal gland. The aim of this study was to adapt this method to the Djungarian hamster in order to monitor clock properties during photoperiodic changes. Male adult Djungarian hamsters were kept in a long photoperiod (LD 16:8) and melatonin release was measured hourly during the dark period for several weeks. Melatonin showed a regular secretion between ZT 17 and ZT 23.5 whereas the amplitude became stable only after the third day of perfusion. To test how quickly changes in melatonin profile can be measured, 15-min light pulses were given at different time points throughout the scotophase. Light-pulses immediately interrupted melatonin secretion at any time point during the scotophase and the temporal resolution for measurement could be reduced to 30 min. In accordance with studies in the rat, long-term effects of light on the clock could only be observed when a light pulse was administered in the second half of the night. For the first time we established a method to measure precisely a direct and reliable clock-output in a highly seasonal species which allows us now to study the circadian and seasonal properties of the clock in detail.[1]


  1. Trans-pineal microdialysis in the Djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus): a tool to study seasonal changes of circadian clock activities. Herwig, A., Pévet, P., Bothorel, B., Steinlechner, S., Saboureau, M. J. Pineal Res. (2006) [Pubmed]
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