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Immunolesions of melanopsin receptive neurons in the adult Pekin drake attenuates the hormonal reproductive axis

Fraley GS (2014) Immunolesions of melanopsin receptive neurons in the adult Pekin drake attenuates the hormonal reproductive axis. Neuroscience 2014 Abstracts 543.01. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.

Summary: Several light sensitive receptors have been described in the avian brain that are thought to regulate the reproductive axis independently from the eyes and pineal gland. Recently, my lab has described the presence of three of these photoneuroendocrine systems in the Pekin duck: opsin, opsin 5, and melanopsin. I set out to test the hypothesis that melanopsin receptive neurons are necessary to maintain seasonal reproductive status in the Pekin drake. To accomplish this, 50-week-old Pekin drakes were housed in the aviary at Hope College under long day length (18 hrs lights on) conditions in floor pens (5 drakes per pen). To specifically lesion melanopsin-receptive neurons, drakes were anethestized (8 mg/kg Propofol, IV), given analgesics (2 mg/kg ketfen, SC) skin incised and a trephine hole drilled 10 mm caudal to bony orbits and 1 mm to the left of midline. A 33 gauge stainless steel needle attached to a Hamilton syringe was lowered stereotactically 3.5 mm ventral to dura into the lateral ventricle. Three microliters of an anti-melanopsin-saporin conjugate (MSAP, 100 ng/ul) was injected into the lateral ventricle (n = 10). Control drakes were injected with 3 ul of equimolar unconjugated anti-melanopsin and saporin (SAP, n = 10). The incision was closed with VetBond, and the drakes returned to the aviary after complete recovery from anesthesia. After 4 weeks, birds were euthanized (400 mg/kg FatalPlus, IP) and body weight measured, and brains, pituitaries, and testes collected and stored for analyses. MSAP-treated drakes had significantly (p < 0.001) reduced relative teste weights compared to SAP controls. qRT-PCR analyses (n = 5 per treatment) of anterior pituitary showed a significant reduction (p < 0.001) in both LH-beta and FSH mRNA’s. Immunoctyochemical analyses (n = 5 per treatment) showed a significant reduction in melanopsin and GnRH-immunoreactivities. These data underscore the importance of the photoneuroendocrine system in maintaining the reproductive axis in seasonally breeding birds.

Related Products: Melanopsin-SAP (Cat. #IT-44)