A neuroendocrine model for prolactin as the key mediator of seasonal breeding in birds under long- and short-day photoperiods.

Seasonal breeding is associated with sequential increases in plasma luteinizing hormone (LH) and prolactin in the short-day breeding emu, and in long-day breeding birds that terminate breeding by the development of reproductive photorefractoriness. A model of the avian neuroendocrine photoperiodic reproductive response is proposed, incorporating a role for prolactin, to account for neuroendocrine mechanisms controlling both long- and short-day breeding. The breeding season terminates after circulating concentrations of prolactin increase above a critical threshold to depress gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neuronal and gonadotrope (LH) activity. Subsequently, photorefractoriness develops for prolactin secretion and for LH secretion, independently of high plasma prolactin. The breeding season in the emu is advanced compared with long-day breeders, because after photorefractiness for both LH and prolactin secretion is dissipated, plasma concentrations of both hormones increase to maximum values while days are still short.

PMID: 12769227 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2003 Apr;81(4):350-8.

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