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      On the Role of the Pineal in Thermoregulation in the Pigeon

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          Diurnal rhythm in body temperature of pigeons subjected to different experimental conditions (pinealectomized, sham-operated, melatonin-implanted, cold-exposed) was studied under a 12 h light and 12 h dark regimen. The body temperature of pigeons during photophase was higher than that during scotophase in the normal as well as every treatment group studied. Pinealectomized pigeons showed higher body temperature in the photophase as well as scotophase, than that of the normal and sham-operated birds when examined 2 or 3 weeks following the post-surgical acclimatization to 25 or 3° C. However, subcutaneous implantation of melatonin pellets into pinealectomized pigeons nullified or even reversed the hyperthermic effect of pinealectomy. Exposure of pigeons to – 18° C for 280 min during photophase as well as scotophase, produced a marked drop in body temperature in pinealectomized, sham-operated and normal pigeons. The pinealectomized pigeons exhibited a higher body temperature than that of the sham-operated and normal ones when exposed to –18°C during the photophase, but not during the scotophase. It was concluded that while the pineal is not necessary for maintaining the daily thermal rhythm in the avian body, it has a thermoregulatory role, in that it prevents rise in body temperature in warm (25°C) acclimatized and chronic cold (3°C) exposed birds. In acute short-term cold (-18°C) exposure however, the temperature regulatory role of the pineal was not effective during the scotophase.

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          Author and article information

          Horm Res Paediatr
          Hormone Research in Paediatrics
          S. Karger AG
          25 November 2008
          : 9
          : 1
          : 41-56
          Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont.
          178896 Horm Res 1978;9:41–56
          © 1978 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Page count
          Pages: 16


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