The LH-RH system of the male European starling: photoperiod induces changes to a possible multifunctional peptide system.
Foster RG., Plowman G., Goldsmith AR., Follett BK., Parry DM.
In many birds reproduction is triggered by long daylengths but, paradoxically, continued exposure to long days leads to photorefractoriness and a complete shut down of the reproductive system. As these effects are thought to be mediated through the secretion of LH-RH, immunocytochemical techniques were used to investigate changes in the LH-RH system when European starlings were exposed to different photoperiods. Starlings exposed to 11L:13D and with mature testes show strong immunostaining both of LH-RH perikarya and fibers. Photosensitive short-day (8L:16D) starlings with undeveloped testes show an almost identical distribution of strongly immunoreactive perikarya but with less dense fibre staining. However, long-day (18L:6D) photorefractory starlings with fully regressed testes, show a profound reduction in LH-RH immunostaining. Perikarya have the same distribution but show a much reduced intensity of staining and fibers had almost entirely disappeared from all regions of the brain. Preliminary observations on the ultrastructure of immunocytochemically identified LH-RH neurones are also reported.