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Abstract

Adult male Syrian hamsters either placed in a short photoperiod alone or kept in a long photoperiod and given daily afternoon injections of the pineal indole melatonin (25 μg) exhibited splenic hypertrophy and extramedullary hematopoiesis in addition to a marked regression in testicular weight. The testicular regression as well as the changes in spleen weight and histology could be prevented if the animals in short photoperiod were either pinealectomized or implanted subcutaneously with a pellet containing 1 mg melatonin. Female Syrian hamsters given afternoon injections of melatonin for 7 or 12 weeks had ovaries devoid of corpora lutea; additionally, these animals had reduced relative spleen weights compared to the control animals. In conclusion, it is apparent that spleen weight varies with the functional status of the gonads. Splenic hypertrophy accompanied by pineal-induced testicular regression in males may be related to splenic extramedullary hematopoiesis.