Improvement of the cold resistance capacity of the mole rat (Spalax ehrenbergi, Nehring), a blind subterranean rodent, was achieved following subcutaneous melatonin administration. Melatonin‐treated mole rats exhibited reduction both in initial body temperature (Tbo) and in the decrease of body temperature (ΔTb) after 6 hours of exposure to cold. The tested mole rats were acclimated to and kept during the experiment, under long (16L/8D) photoperiod schedule while the effects of melatonin administration on body temperature simulated the effects of short photoperiod conditions. These results suggest that in mole rats, melatonin biochemically mediates photoperiodic information into body temperature physiological response. As a byproduct of the original experiment, it was found that frequently repeated short (6 hours) exposure to cold (Ta = 5 ± 1°C) can in itself initiate an improvement of cold resistance capacity similar to the effect of melatonin administration. This supports the idea that mole rats may improve their cold resistance in response to either photoperiodic or climatic changes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology