3.1. ExperimentalStudies

Experiment 1. Figure 1 illustrates the effect of melatonin treatment on plasma testosterone. Testosterone concentration (ng/ml) shows a significant circadian change after melatonin treatment. After melatonin injections, at the beginning of night (10 p.m.), testosterone plasma concentrations were significantly decreased (p = 0.02), while at 2 a.m. (when melatonin production is maximum) the levels of testosterone increased (p = 0.01). Melatonin administration did not change the morning testosterone concentrations (10 a.m.).

Experiment 2. Effect of orchidectomy and testosterone treatment on mela-tonin production are shown in Figure 2. Pineal melatonin content (pg/pineal) in castrated rats (p = 0.007) was more lowered than in sham-orchidectomized rats. Reduced melatonin production was also observed in sham castrated rats (p = 0.003) compared to intact group but its circadian rhythm was preserved. After testosterone administration in castrated rats, melatonin levels returned to the levels of sham castrated rats.

Experiment 3. Serum LH and FSH concentrations significantly increased after 30 min from GnRH administration (group 2) as compared to control group (1) (Figure 3). A significant decrease was observed in both 3 and 4 groups after melatonin administration. The effect of melatonin was dose-dependent, mean serum FSH and

LH concentrations were lower in group (4) (50^g MLT) than those in group (3) (25^gMLT).

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