Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates ovarian follicle development and the production of protein hormones including inhibin A and inhibin B. The inhibins are dimeric proteins (alpha-beta(A) or alpha-beta(B)) secreted by growing follicles that suppress FSH in a classical endocrine negative feedback loop. Siberian hamsters, Phodopus sungorus, exhibit seasonal variation in FSH levels. Given the role of inhibin in FSH regulation, we hypothesized that ovarian inhibin expression differs between animals reared in long (16 h light:8 h darkness) and short (6 h light:18 h darkness) photoperiods. To examine inhibin expression in animals housed under long or short photoperiods, hamster inhibin alpha-, beta(A)-, and beta(B)-subunits were cloned and used to detect and localize inhibin subunit mRNA in developing follicles. Ovarian inhibin alpha-subunit mRNA levels were significantly higher in long day-exposed (LD) than in short day-exposed (SD) hamsters. In addition, dimeric inhibin, as well as inhibin alpha-, beta(A)-, and beta(B)-subunit protein levels were higher in the LD than in the SD hamster ovaries.
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