The thermoregulatory mechanism of melatonin-induced hypothermia in chicken

I. Rozenboim*, L. Miara, D. Wolfenson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The involvement of melatonin (Mel) in body temperature (T(b)) regulation was studied in White Leghorn layers. In experiment 1, 35 hens were injected intraperitoneally with seven doses of Mel (0, 5, 10, 20, 40, 80, or 160 mg Mel/kg body wt) dissolved in ethanol. Within 1 h, Mel had caused a dose- dependent reduction in T(b). To eliminate a possible vehicle effect, 0, 80, and 160 mg/kg body wt Mel dissolved in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) was injected. NMP had no effect on T(b), with Mel again causing a dose-dependent hypothermia. In experiment 2 (n = 30), Mel injected before exposure of layers to heat reduced T(b) and prevented heat-induced hyperthermia. Injection after heat stress had begun did not prevent hyperthermia. Under cold stress, Mel induced hypothermia, which was not observed in controls. In experiment 3 (n = 12), Mel injection reduced T(b) and increased metatarsal and comb temperatures (but not feathered-skin temperature), respiratory rate, and evaporative water loss. Heart rate rose and then declined, and blood pressure increased 1 h after Mel injection. Heat production rose slightly during the first hour, then decreased in parallel to the T(b) decline. We conclude that pharmacological doses of Mel induce hypothermia in hens by increasing nonevaporative skin heat losses and slightly increasing respiratory evaporation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)R232-R236
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1 43-1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


  • Domestic fowl
  • Heat loss


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