Mayorga, Isabel and Mara, Laura and Sanna, D. and Stelletta, Calogero and Morgante, Massimo and Casu, Sara and Dattena, Maria (2011) Good quality sheep embryos produced by superovulation treatment without the use of progesterone devices. Theriogenology, Vol. 75 (9), p. 1661-1668. ISSN 0093-691X. Article.
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Multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET) is a very important tool for the genetic improvement and preservation of endangered livestock. However, the success of a MOET programme highly depends on the number of transferable embryos in response to a superovulation treatment. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare the number and quality of embryos produced during natural oestrus under porcine FSH treatment without the use of progesterone devices to more traditional protocols. Forty Sarda sheep were divided into 2 groups: without sponges (WS) (n = 20) and with sponges (S) containing 40mg FGA for 12 d (n = 20) (control group); 350 I.U. of porcine FSH per sheep was administered in eight decreasing doses twice daily starting four days after estrus was detected (Day 0) in group WS and 48 h before sponge removal in group S. A single i.m. dose of 125 μg of cloprostenol was administered on Day 6 after estrus in group WS to induce luteolysis. Sheep were naturally mated 24 h after cloprostenol injection or sponge removal. Seven days after mating, an inguinal laparotomy was performed and the number of corpora lutea (CL) recorded. Embryos were recovered surgically by flushing each uterine horn. A total of 38 fresh and 22 vitrified embryos were transferred in pairs into 3 groups of recipients seven days after estrus detection: fresh embryos from group S (S-F) (n = 9), fresh embryos from group WS (WS-F) (n = 10) and vitrified embryos from group WS (WS-V) (n = 11). Data on the number of corpora lutea (CL), recovered ova and embryos (OER), and quality 1–2 and 3 embryos (EQ1-2, EQ3) per ewe were analyzed by ANOVA. Recovery (RR), fertility (FR) and quality 1–2 embryo (Q1-2R) rates per treatment were analyzed by a Chi Square analysis. A Chi Square analysis was also applied to pregnancy rate (PR), lambing rate (LR) and twinning rate (TR) of fresh and vitrified embryos in order to analyze embryo transfer results. Among all superovulation variables analysed, results show statistically significant differences in mean number of CL/ ewe (9.3 ± 3.9 vs 7 ± 3.2), RR (67% vs 80 %) and FR (100% vs 80%) (P ‹ 0.05) between WS and S groups respectively. There were no significant differences in PR (78%, 70% and 82%), LR (67%, 60% and 59%) and TR (71%, 71% and 44.4%) among S-F, WS-F and WS-V groups respectively. In conclusion, it is possible to produce a good number of transferable embryos during natural oestrus avoiding the use of sponges.
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