Pineal-adrenal Relationship: Modulating Effects of Glucocorticoids on Pineal Function to Ameliorate Thermal-stress in Goats

  • Sejian, V. (Neurophysiology Laboratory, Division of Physiology and Climatology Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Srivastava, R.S. (Neurophysiology Laboratory, Division of Physiology and Climatology Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Varshney, V.P. (Head, Division of Physiology & Climatology)
  • Received : 2007.08.25
  • Accepted : 2008.02.25
  • Published : 2008.07.01


The purpose of the investigation was to establish how the pineal-adrenal axis plays an important role in thermoregulation in female goats under short-term heat stress. The study was conducted to observe the influence of glucocorticoids on pineal function in goats and its influence on stress alleviation capability. Melatonin and glucocorticoid secretions and several other endocrine and biochemical blood parameters reflecting the animals well being were determined over a one week period after goats had been exposed to $40^{\circ}C$ and 60% relative humidity for 10 days. Six female goats were used in the study. These animals served as self controls prior to the start of the experiment. The study was conducted for a period of seventeen days in a psychrometric chamber at $40^{\circ}C$ and 60% relative humidity. Chemical pinealectomy was achieved using propranolol followed by exogenous hydrocortisone treatment. Blood samples were drawn twice daily after each treatment to find the effect of hydrocortisone on plasma glucose, total protein, total cholesterol, cortisol, insulin, aldosterone, melatonin and corticosterone. Chemical pinealectomy significantly ($p{\leq}0.05$) affected plasma levels of the parameters studied and these could be significantly ($p{\leq}0.05$) counteracted by administration of hydrocortisone. Chemical pinealectomy aggravated thermal stress, although administration of hydrocortisone could ameliorate the condition. This indicated a role of the pineal in support of thermoregulation. The study establishes the modulating effect of glucocorticoids on pineal activity to relieve thermal stress in goats.


Supported by : Indian Veterinary Research Institute


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