Photoperiod (day length) can modulate immune function. Whether these photoperiodic effects on immune function are mediated directly by a circadian photoperiodic time measurement system or indirectly by nonspecific (e.g. stressful) effects of light is unknown. To discriminate between these two possibilities, Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) were housed in either long or short photoperiods (LD 16 : 8 h or LD 8 : 16 h) or in 'skeleton' long or short photoperiods (LD 1 : 14 h: LD 1 : 8 h or LD 1 : 6 h: LD 1 : 16 h). In the skeleton photoperiods, both long- and short-day animals received 2 h of light per day. After 10 weeks in their respective photoperiods, hamsters were tested for an antigen specific immune response using a delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) model. Reproductive and endocrine responses of hamsters in each of the skeleton photoperiods were equivalent to those in standard long or short days, respectively. Hamsters in skeleton short days and LD 8 : 16 increased DTH responses compared to hamsters in both long-day groups. DTH responses were equivalent in both long-day groups. These results suggest that the influences of day length on immune function potentially are due to circadian photoperiodic time measurement systems.
- Circadian rhythms
- Immune function
- Skeleton photoperiod
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience