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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Neuroendocrinologie Moleculaire de la Reproduction

Discontinuity in the molecular neuroendocrine response to increasing daylengths in Ile-de-France ewes: Is transient Dio2 induction a key feature of circannual timing?

J Neuroendocrinol. 2019 Aug;31(8):e12775. doi: 10.1111/jne.12775. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Tshb ; circannual; kisspeptin; melatonin; pars tuberalis; photoperiodism; tanycytes
© J Neuroendocrinol.
Dardente H, Lomet D, Chesneau D, Pellicer-Rubio MT, Hazlerigg D.


In mammals, melatonin is responsible for the synchronisation of seasonal cycles to the solar year. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland with a profile reflecting the duration of the night and acts via the pituitary pars tuberalis (PT), which in turn modulates hypothalamic thyroid hormone status via seasonal changes in the production of locally-acting thyrotrophin. Recently, we demonstrated that, in the Soay sheep, photoperiodic induction of Tshb expression and consequent downstream hypothalamic changes occur over a narrow range of photoperiods between 12 and 14 hours in duration. In the present study, we aimed to extend our molecular characterisation of this pathway, based on transcriptomic analysis of photoperiodic changes in the pituitary and hypothalamus of ovariectomised, oestradiol-implanted Ile-de-France ewes. We demonstrate that photoperiodic treatments applied before the winter solstice elicit two distinctive modes of accelerated reproductive switch off compared to ewes held on a simulated natural photoperiod, with shut-down occurring markedly faster on photoperiods of 13 hours or more than on photoperiods of 12 hours and less. This pattern of response was reflected in gene expression profiles of photoperiodically sensitive markers, both in the PT (Tshb, Fam150b, Vmo1, Ezh2 and Suv39H2) and in tanycytes (Tmem252 and Dct). Unexpectedly, the expression of Dio2 in tanycytes did not show any noticeable increase in expression with lengthening photoperiods. Finally, the expression of Kiss1, the key activator of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone release, was proportionately decreased by lengthening photoperiods, in a pattern that correlated strongly with gonadotrophin suppression. These data show that stepwise increases in photoperiod lead to graded molecular responses at the level of the PT, a progressive suppression of Kiss1 in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus and luteinising hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone release by the pituitary, despite apparently unchanged Dio2 expression in tanycytes. We hypothesise that this apparent discontinuity in the seasonal neuroendocrine response illustrates the transient nature of the thyroid hormone-mediated response to long days in the control of circannual timing.