THE GUARDIAN: Why do sheep get horny in winter? Because the light is baaad, says study

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 6/3/2017

Description

Andrew Loudon, a professor of animal biology at the University of Manchester who was not involved in the research, welcomed the study, pointing out that it highlights the importance of the region of the pituitary gland that detects long-term seasonal changes in melatonin. “[This] tissue contains specialised ‘calendar cells’ that act as the master regulator of seasonal cycles – so it is terribly important,” he said. “This new study offers an important insight into how the seasonal clock in this structure works to control the production of hormones in the pituitary gland.”

With similar melatonin-detecting regions present in the pituitary glands of humans, Loudon believes it is important to probe whether the newly discovered mechanism could also play a role in human biology. “Patterns of hormone secretion and also immune function are known to be seasonal in humans, although we are unusual as a species in being far less seasonal in our biology than wild animals,” he said. “However, I think it is highly likely that malfunction of these seasonal hormone-regulating pathways may well turn out to be important in the development of some endocrine diseases in the pituitary gland.”

Media contributions

TitleWhy do sheep get horny in winter? Because the light is baaad, says study
Media name/outletThe Guardian
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
Date6/03/17
DescriptionAndrew Loudon, a professor of animal biology at the University of Manchester who was not involved in the research, welcomed the study, pointing out that it highlights the importance of the region of the pituitary gland that detects long-term seasonal changes in melatonin. “[This] tissue contains specialised ‘calendar cells’ that act as the master regulator of seasonal cycles – so it is terribly important,” he said. “This new study offers an important insight into how the seasonal clock in this structure works to control the production of hormones in the pituitary gland.”

With similar melatonin-detecting regions present in the pituitary glands of humans, Loudon believes it is important to probe whether the newly discovered mechanism could also play a role in human biology. “Patterns of hormone secretion and also immune function are known to be seasonal in humans, although we are unusual as a species in being far less seasonal in our biology than wild animals,” he said. “However, I think it is highly likely that malfunction of these seasonal hormone-regulating pathways may well turn out to be important in the development of some endocrine diseases in the pituitary gland.”
URLhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/06/why-do-sheep-get-horny-in-winter-because-the-light-is-baaad-says-study
PersonsAndrew Loudon