Biorhythms and pineal gland

Valér Csernus, Béla Mess

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

35 Citations (Scopus)


Endocrine biorhythms are classified according to the period time, as one of the most characteristic properties of biorhythms. Each endocrine organ has parallel more than one biorhythms with different period time (e.g. circadian and circannual rhythms). The time of acrophase of the biorhythms at the different endocrine organs is fairly variant. This review summarizes the rhythmic function of the THS-thyroid, gonadotrophic-gonadal and ACTH-adrenocortical systems. Pineal gland plays an integrative role in the regulation of rhythmic function of the endocrine system. The melatonin secretion of this gland also reveals conspicuous circadian and circannual rhythms both in mammals and in birds. Mammalian pineal is functional only if its peripheral sympathetic innervation from the superior cervical ganglion is intact. In contrast, melatonin secretion and its circadian rhythm is also maintained in birds under isolated conditions (explanted into an in vitro superfusion system). The 24 hours period time of melatonin circadian rhythm can not be changed by light impulses. The phases of the circadian rhythm, however, can be turned by changing the time of environmental light-dark phases. The wavelength of the artificial light used for reversal of circadian rhythm is an important factor. The development of the entrainment and synchronization of the circadian melatonin rhythm in birds is independent of the rhythmic day-night changes in environmental lighting condition. The differences in the main elements of the biological clock between mammals and birds are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-411
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroendocrinology Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2003



  • Biorhythm
  • Birds
  • Circadian melatonin rhythm
  • Endocrine rhythms
  • Light impulses
  • Mammals
  • Melatonin
  • Pineal gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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