Effect of corticosterone on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal system of male Japanese quail exposed to either short or long photoperiods

P. Deviche, R. Massa, L. Bottoni, J. C. Hendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Male quails were bred under short photoperiods of 8 h light: 16 h darkness (8L: 16D; SD) for the first 4 weeks of life and were then transferred to either long photoperiods of 16L: 8D (LD) or maintained under the SD regime. Both groups of birds were treated for 2 weeks with a daily dose of either 0.25 or 1.0 mg corticosterone. The conversion of [14C]testosterone in vitro into 5α- and 5β-dihydrotestosterone (5α- and 5β-DHT), 5α- and 5β-androstane-3α,17β-diol, and androstenedione was then measured in the pituitary and cloacal glands of all birds. In the hyperstriatum and posterior hypothalamus only 5β-reduced metabolites and androstenedione were detected. Transfer to LD and injection of corticosterone affected the metabolism of testosterone only in the pituitary and cloacal glands. In the pituitary gland, exposure to LD increased the production of 5α-reduced metabolites but not of either 5β-reduced metabolites or androstenedione. In both SD and LD birds, injections of corticosterone enhanced the production of 5β-reduced steroids and decreased the production of androstenedione. In LD birds corticosterone also decreased the production of 5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol. Plasma levels of LH and FSH were higher in the LD than in the SD birds. In the SD birds treatment with corticosterone increased the level of LH after 14 days of treatment. Exposure to LD decreased the production of 5β-androstane-3α,17β-diol and androstenedione in the cloacal gland and increased the conversion of testosterone into 5α-DHT. Treatment with corticosterone increased the production of androstenedione in the cloacal gland of LD birds but decreased it in that of SD birds. Corticosterone also partially blocked the photoinduced growth of the cloacal gland, but it slightly stimulated the growth of the gland in the SD birds. After 2 weeks of treatment SD (but not LD) corticosterone-treated birds had higher testicular weights than the corresponding controls. It is suggested that treatment with corticosterone might affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis partly through changes in the metabolism of testosterone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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