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Role de la glande pineale dans la regulation de l’axe hypothalamo-hypophyso-testiculaire

The role of the pineal gland in the regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular axis


The role of the pineal gland and of its main hormone, melatonin, has not yet been clearly defined. The best known activity of the gland is antigonadal, at least in the experimental animals. In fact, the administration of melatonin or the modification of the light/darkness ratio, that is considered the most important regulatory mechanism of the melatonin-synthetic activity, leads to a gonadal regression by which all the morphological and hormonal parameters are modified. Such a mechanism is not operating in humans. However, data exist indicating a role for the pineal in this species. Our experimental data and those of the litterature indicate that the action of melatonin seems to be principally at the hypothalamic level, even though a direct action at the pituitary and gonadal levels cannot be excluded


Le rôle de la glande pinéale et de son principal produit de secrétion, la mélatonine n’a pas encore été complètement élucidé. L’activité principale de cette structure est de type antigonadique, au moins dans les espèces animales qui y sont sensibles. En effect, dans ce cas l’administration de mélatonine, ou la modification du rapport lumière/obscurité, qui est le principal mécanisme régulant la synthèse de la mélatonine, induit une régression progressive des gonades avec altération de tous les paramètres morphologiques et hormonaux. Ceci ne survient pas chez l’homme, mais toute une séries d’éléments indiquent un rôle de l’épiphyse dans l’espèce humanie. La mélatonine semble exercer ses effets au niveau de différentes structures. Même si’il est généralement accepté que sa cible principale est l’hypothalamus, on ne peut exclure une action directe aux niveaux hypophysaire et/ou testiculaire


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Correspondence to Maurizio Nordio.

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Nordio, M., Conte, D., Romanelli, F. et al. Role de la glande pineale dans la regulation de l’axe hypothalamo-hypophyso-testiculaire. Androl. 1, 51–52 (1991).

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Key words

  • Pineal gland
  • melatonin
  • male reproduction
  • infertility

Mots clés

  • Epiphyse
  • Mélatonine
  • Reproduction masculine
  • Infertilité