Interaction of estradiol and progesterone: Effects on circadian locomotor rhythm of female golden hamsters

J. S. Takahashi, M. Menaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The phase and activity level of the locomotor rhythms of female golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) vary in synchrony with the 4-day estrous cycle. We investigated the effects of estradiol and progesterone administration in ovariectomized hamsters to explore the interaction of these two ovarian hormones in modulating circadian locomotor rhythms. Silastic implants of estradiol shorten the period length of the rhythm, change the pattern and level of activity, and decrease the observed variance of the activity onset. Progesterone implants have no effects on the rhythm when given alone; however, when progesterone is given in combination with estradiol, all three estradiol-induced changes are blocked. These results correlate well with the observed locomotor behavior of normal female hamsters. If the levels of both estradiol progesterone in the serum are taken into account, this correlation holds for a number of hormonal conditions including those found during the 4-day estrous cycle as well as during pregnancy and lactation. These data suggest that progesterone antagonizes the effects of estradiol in the normal animal and that the interaction of estradiol and progesterone modulates the circadian activity of female hamsters on a day-to-day basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R497-R504
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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