After the 32 weeks, the researchers sacrificed the hamsters to see which genes were active in the hypothalamus and which were not, and whether it differed depending on what season the hamsters were kept in.
The results showed that the three genes were being expressed in other words, they were turned on in the hamsters that were kept constantly in short days or in long days. These genes produce proteins that help the hypothalamus take in thyroid hormones involved in the regulation of reproduction. In other words, the animals in both long and short days had high levels of thyroid hormones in the brain and therefore were able to respond to changes in day length.
That's because hamsters need these thyroid hormones both when they are breeding and when the reproduction system shuts down in the winter. Prendergast explained that a different process separate from the thyroid hormones examined in this study seemed to be involved in shutting the reproductive system down for the winter.
But the researchers found that the hamsters also need thyroid
hormones in the hypothalamus to keep the reproductive system
shut down during the winter. If the hypothalamus does not continue
to get these hormones, the reproductive system beings to
automatically re-grow. So when mid-winter comes the internal
Contact: Brian Prendergast
Ohio State University