OBJECTIVE: In this study, the effects of melatonin on superovulation and the transfer of transgenic embryos were investigated in Small-Tailed Han sheep.
DESIGN: Different doses of melatonin (0, 40 or 80 mg/animal) were subcutaneously implanted into both multiparous (4-5 years old) donors and recipients before superovulation and estrus synchronization. The one-year-old young ewes without melatonin treatment served to evaluate the reproductive efficiency of the adult multiparous ewes. Ewes with superovulation were used as embryo donors. The estrus were induced in embryo recipients after embryo transpimplanted.
RESULTS: The results showed that the number of corpora lutea of the ewes received subcutaneous 40 or 80 mg melatonin implant (13.4±1.05/ewe, 15.1±1.62/ewe) were significantly higher than that of in control group (8.8±0.37/ewe) (p<0.05). Similarily the number of recovered embryos from the ewes received subcutaneous 40 or 80 mg melatonin implant (10.3±0.84/ewe, 10.9±1.21/ewe) was significantly higher than the control group (6.2±0.60/ewe) (p<0.05). The transimplantd embryos from 40 or 80 mg melatonin treated donors dramatically improved the pregnancy and birth rates compared to control ewes. In addition, both 40 mg and 80 mg melatonin implatation lead to more lambs born per embryo.
CONCLUSIONS: These observations provide valuable information for the application of melatonin in increasing superovulation and transgenic embryo transplantation efficiency in sheep.