• Endocrine drivers of photoperiod response

      Helfer, Gisela; Dumbell, R. (2020-04)
      Life in a seasonally variable environment has evolved to interpret the time of year through day length (photoperiod) which is translated into a neurochemical signal. In mammals, the pars tuberalis is a key site where seasonal time signal (melatonin) interfaces and relays photoperiodic information to the hypothalamus via thyrotropin. Recent work has elucidated a potential circannual clock in ‘calendar cells’ of the pars tuberalis. In the hypothalamus, tanycytes are an integral part of the hypothalamic network. Previous studies show the importance of local synthesis of thyroid hormone and retinoic acid in tanycytes. Recently novel downstream neuroendocrine signals, e.g. VGF, FGF21 and chemerin, were identified to govern seasonally appropriate phenotype. Additionally, the hypothalamic-pituitary-growth axis has been implicated in seasonally bodyweight and torpor regulation. Here, we will focus on the endocrine drivers of photoperiod response and highlight novel downstream effects on bodyweight and growth focusing on recent findings from seasonal rodent studies.