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July 1966

Physiology of Puberty

Am J Dis Child. 1966;112(1):92-93. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1966.02090100128022

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Physicians who have conserved their reading time for other branches of knowledge will marvel at what has happened to gonadal physiology in the past decade. The pineal gland, for example, is now considered by many a respected member of the endocrine fraternity, its credentials embodied in a hormonal substance, melatonin, which depresses growth of the ovary and ovarian function in experimental animals. Melatonin synthesis depends on the action of an enzyme which is inhibited by light and stimulated by darkness. The light effect is transmitted to the pineal gland through the cervical sympathetic chain. The authors of this monograph, mindful of previous attempts of this organ to masquerade as an endocrine gland only to be exposed as an impostor, describe the recent experimental work but recall the past and the conflicting evidence concerning the endocrine function of this body. Their vote on the admission of the pineal would best be

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