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      Effects of Adrenalectomy and Constant Light on the Rat Estrous Cycle


      S. Karger AG

      Adrenalectomy, Constant light, Estrous cycle, Female rat

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          Adult female ARS/Sprague-Dawley rats were allowed to acclimatize to a a lighting schedule of 12L:12D (LD) for 5 weeks. At that time, half the animals were adrenalectomized, and all rats remained in LD for an additional 4 to 5 weeks. Subsequently, half of the control and half of the adrenalectomized rats were exposed to constant light (LL) for an additional 8 weeks, at which time all animals were sacrificed. Operated rats with regenerated adrenal tissue, determined either by macroscopic examination or serum corticosterone assay (about 50% of the rats), were excluded from all data calculations. Acute disturbances of estrous cycle length were minor. The long-term effects revealed a significant increase in 5-day cycles among the adrenalectomized rats, although the majority of cycles recorded (80%) were still 4 days in length. None of the rats in LD showed spontaneous persistent estrus. Adrenalectomy did not affect the number of ova shed. When placed in LL, the adrenalectomized rats continued to cycle longer than the un-operated controls, but all rats showed persistent estrus (5 or more consecutive days of vaginal cornification) within 7–8 weeks. Adrenalectomized rats had significantly higher body weights than controls. Relative uterine weight was decreased in these animals in both lighting regimens but only reached statistical significance in LD. Ovarian weight, by contrast, was significantly increased among adrenalectomized rats in LD but was identical in both groups in LL. Adrenal weight of intact rats was not altered by LL. Since estrous cycles can continue for at least 3 months in the absence of the adrenal gland, the persistent estrus that occurs in LL is not merely due to the loss of a diurnal rhythm of corticosteroids. Indeed, when adrenalectomized rats are placed in LL, they continue to show estrous cycles longer than do intact rats. Adrenalectomy does appear to increase the length of the cycle in some animals, and the hormonal basis for this warrants further study.

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          Author and article information

          S. Karger AG
          26 March 2008
          : 27
          : 5-6
          : 247-256
          Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, Hawaii
          122817 Neuroendocrinology 1978;27:247–256
          © 1978 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Pages: 10


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