Berlinguer, Fiammetta and Leoni, Giovanni Giuseppe and Succu, Sara and Spezzigu, Antonio and Madeddu, Manuela and Satta, Valentina and Bebbere, Daniela and Contreras Solis, Ignacio and Gonzales Bulnes, Antonio and Naitana, Salvatore (2009) Exogenous melatonin positively influences follicular dynamics, oocyte developmental competence and blastocyst output in a goat model. Journal of Pineal Research, Vol. 46 (4), p. 383-391. ISSN 0742-3098. eISSN 1600-079X. Article.
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The role of melatonin in modulating mammalian reproduction is of particular interest; however, its effects on ovarian follicles and their oocytes still remain to be characterized. This study determined the influence of melatonin treatment on follicular growth patterns and on in vitro oocyte developmental competence. In a first experiment, the effects of melatonin supplementation on follicular dynamics were evaluated using daily transrectal ultrasonographies for 21 days, in 7 multiparous Sarda goats receiving a subcutaneous implant of 18 mg of melatonin and in 5 control untreated does. Melatonin caused more follicular waves (5.2 ± 0.2 versus 4 ± 0.3; P < 0.05) as the waves were shortened at around 2 days when compared with the non-melatonin treated control goats (P < 0.001). Oocyte developmental competence was evaluated in a second experiment by applying procedures for in vitro embryo production. There were no significant differences in the total number of oocytes obtained from 6 control (n = 192) and 7 melatonin-treated (n = 265) goats given follicle stimulating hormone to induce follicular development. Differences in oocyte developmental competence between the two groups became evident after in vitro fertilization and culture; melatonin increased the rate of cleaved oocytes in comparison with control animals (82.5 versus 63.4%; P < 0.001), advanced timing of embryo development and enhanced blastocyst output (31.5 versus 16.3%; P < 0.01). However, blastocyst quality, as evaluated by cryotolerance and gene expression analysis, was not found to be different between the groups. In conclusion, in vivo melatonin treatment is beneficial for increasing ovarian follicle turnover and improving oocyte developmental competence and kinetics of the blastocyst.
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