Dark-exposure increases the number of pineal concretions in male gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus)

A. Lewinski, M. K. Vaughan, T. H. Champney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The role of pineal calcified inclusions (concretions, corpora arenacea) is unclear. The gerbil pineal gland is ideal for experiments regarding pineal calcification. Sympathetic denervation of the gerbil pineal has been shown to inhibit formation of concretions and pineal vacuoles; the origin of the latter still awaits elucidation. In the present study we undertook an examination of the number of pineal concretions and vacuoles in adult male gerbils exposed to different lighting conditions. Six gerbils were subjected to short photoperiods (SP) (10 h light:14 h darkness), and 11 gerbils were kept in long photoperiods (LP) (14 h light:10 h darkness). Thirteen weeks later, the pineal glands were collected from all the gerbils, and fixed in Bouin's fluid. After routine histological processing the microscopic preparations were strained with hematoxylin and eosin. The number of concretions and empty vacuoles was scored in every other section of the entire gland. The mean number of concretions in SP-exposed gerbils (214.66 ± 36.91, X ± SEM) was significantly higher than that in the LP-exposed animals (99.54 ± 9.16, p<0.01). No significant differences betwen the two groups of gerbils were found for the number of vacuoles, or concretions and vacuoles calculated together. The present results are compatible with the theory that the deposition of calcium in the pineal may be related to the metabolic activity of the organ. The increased number of pineal concretions in SP-exposed gerbils seems to be related to the enhanced biosynthetic activity of the pineal resulting from light restriction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-978
Number of pages2
JournalIRCS Medical Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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