Seasonal control of penile development of Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) by daylength and testicular hormones
Seasonal variation in prepubertal penile growth has not previously been studied. The present study assessed the influence of daylength and androgens on penile development in the Siberian hamster (Phodopus sungorus). Adult penile masses were achieved at 18 and 8 weeks of age in hamsters maintained from birth under short (10 h light: 14 h dark) versus long (14 h light:10 h dark) daylengths, respectively. Insulin-like growth factor I concentrations, previously implicated in penile growth, did not
... le growth, did not differ between hamsters maintained in short versus long daylengths. Gonadectomized juvenile males maintained in short and long daylengths and administered testosterone attained adult penile masses well in advance of untreated gonadintact males maintained in short daylengths. Hamsters from both photoperiods, castrated as juveniles and first treated with testosterone in adulthood, also achieved adult penile masses. The photoinhibited gonad is insufficient to promote penile growth, and prepubertal gonadal secretions during short daylengths are not necessary for eventual penile development. Among young born near the end of the mating season, onset of neuroendocrine refractoriness to short daylengths at about 100 days of age and subsequent gonadal development induces growth in all reproductive tissues. Timing of puberty and increased androgen secretion controlled by daylength are the primary determinants of postnatal penile growth, which may also be affected by prenatal and early postnatal organizational actions of androgens.