Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorous sungorous) decrease their food intake when exposed to short ("winter-like") photoperiods. The cause of this naturally-occurring hypophagia is unknown, but it may be due to a heightened sensitivity to the factors that normally terminate food intake in long photoperiods, such as the putative satiety peptides. The purpose of the present investigation was to test whether there would be an enhanced sensitivity to the inhibitory effects of some of these peptides on food intake in short relative to long days. Ad lib-fed, adult female Siberian hamsters were housed in a long photoperiod (LD 14:10) and injected with bombesin, glucagon, cholecystokinin octapeptide (CCK-8) and calcitonin (CT). Food intake was monitored 1, 2, 4, 6, and 24 hr post-injection. Bombesin and glucagon had no effect on food intake in long day-housed hamsters. CCK-8 and CT inhibited food intake; however, CCK-8 did so without any apparent behavioral disruption, while CT produced a marked and prolonged depression of behavior. After 10 weeks of exposure to a short photoperiod (LD 8:16) the hamsters were tested again. The previously ineffective dose of bombesin greatly inhibited food intake following short photoperiod exposure. In addition, an increased inhibition of food intake by CCK-8 was also found. In contrast, glucagon did not decrease food intake and CT still produced its non-specific, behaviorally disruptive effects. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that the effectiveness of a putative satiety peptide can be dependent upon a change in the photoperiod. This heightened responsiveness of short photoperiod-exposed Siberian hamsters to the inhibitory effects of bombesin and cholecystokinin may account for the reduction in food intake that accompanies short day exposure in this species.
- Body weight
- Food intake