Physiological doses of prolactin stimulate pelage pigmentation in Djungarian hamster

M. J. Duncan, B. D. Goldman

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41 Scopus citations


The Djungarian hamster exhibits a dark agouti pelage during the summer. Under the influence of decreased daylength, this species molts and develops a predominantly white winter coat. After a patch of white fur was plucked from hamsters housed in short photoperiod, chronic infusion of 10 or 20 μg ovine prolactin (o-PRL)/day led to the growth of a patch of pigmented fur, thus reversing the effect of the decreased daylength. Circulating o-PRL levels produced by the 10-μg/day infusions ranged from 17.9 ± 4.0 to 35.1 ± 13.8 (SE) ng/ml and thus approximated the endogenous circulating prolactin levels found in hamsters with the dark summer pelage (6, 9). Infusion of o-PRL stimulated pigmentation of the pelage of castrated as well as intact hamsters, suggesting that the testes do not mediate this effect. Infusion of ovine growth hormone (20 μg/day) did not stimulate pigmentation, and infusion of α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (10 μg/day) gave inconclusive results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R664-R667
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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