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Type: Journal article
Title: The pattern of melatonin secretion is rhythmic in the domestic pig and responds rapidly to changes in daylength
Author: Tast, A.
Love, R.
Evans, G.
Telsfer, S.
Giles, R.
Nicholls, P.
Voultsios, A.
Kennaway, D.
Citation: Journal of Pineal Research, 2001; 31(4):294-300
Publisher: Munksgaard Int Publ Ltd
Issue Date: 2001
ISSN: 0742-3098
Statement of
Anssi Tast, Robert J. Love, Gareth Evans, Shevahn Telsfer, Roger Giles, Paul Nicholls, Athena Voultsios, David J. Kennaway
Abstract: The aim of the study was to investigate the capability of pigs to respond to abrupt changes in lighting conditions by means of alterations in circadian melatonin profiles. Sixteen pre-pubertal crossbred male pigs weighing 40–45 kg were housed in individual pens in four temperature- and lighting-controlled climate rooms (four pigs per room). In two rooms there was a light–dark cycle of 16 L:8 D (Group A) and in two other rooms 8 L:16 D (Group B). Under both lighting regimens light intensity at pig eye-level was 220–240 lx during the light phase and less than 7 lx (red light) during the dark phase. The lighting regimens were changed after 2 wks to the opposite regimen and the change was repeated after a further 2 wks, so that animals ended up with the same light cycle with which they started. Blood was sampled at 2-hr intervals for 48 hr spanning each time of change in lighting. A further 24-hr sampling was performed at the end of the experiment (2 wks after the last change) in both groups and 1 wk after the change from short to long day lighting in Group A. On 83/86 occasions, pigs exhibited a clear circadian rhythm in plasma melatonin under both lighting regimens. Pigs responded immediately to the change from long to short day lighting by advancing melatonin secretion to the earlier lights-off time and some pigs were able to extend secretion to the delayed lights-on time. For short to long day changeover there was a small immediate response, with secretion pattern following the previously entrained endogenous rhythm to within 3 hr of the previous lights-on time. After 1 wk commencement of secretion was delayed by up to 2 hr, while after 2 wks some pigs were able to delay commencement of secretion until lights-off or to cease at lights-on. It is concluded that the domestic pig is able to commence adjustment to abrupt changes in photoperiod within a 1-wk acclimatization by altering circadian melatonin secretion. The present study suggests that it may be possible to use simplified lighting regimens instead of stepwise changing lighting programs in commercial piggeries to reduce the influence of season on production.
Keywords: circadian
domestic pig
seasonal infertility
DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-079X.2001.310402.x
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Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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