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      Melatonin Treatment in Rams and Their Replacement with Novel Treated Rams Advance First Lambing and Increase Fertility in Sarda Ewe Lambs

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          Abstract

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          The goals of this study were to advance first mating in ewe lambs and to shorten the period ranging from weaning to first lambing. Sarda ewe lambs (n = 400) were separated into four groups of 100 and exposed for a 50-day breeding period to fertile, adult rams as follows: (1) RMR (Rams–Melatonin–Replacement) group: exposed to melatonin-treated rams which were replaced every 10 days; (2) RM (Rams–Melatonin) group: exposed to melatonin-treated rams which were not replaced; (3) RCR (Rams–Controls–Replacement) group: exposed to untreated rams which were replaced every 10 days; and (4) RC (Rams–Controls) group: exposed to untreated rams which were not replaced. In each group, lambing dates, fertility rate, litter size, and distance in days from ram introduction to lambing (DRIL) were recorded. The RMR group showed the highest fertility rate, whilst shorter DRIL and higher number of ewes that lambed in a shorter time frame were recorded both in RM and RMR groups, compared to controls. The findings highlighted that melatonin treatment in rams and their replacement allowed advancing first mating, increasing fertility rate, and improving lambing concentration.

          Abstract

          This study aims to find reliable strategies for advancing first mating and shortening the period from weaning to first lambing in ewe lambs. Sarda ewe lambs (n = 400) were selected from two farms and allocated into four separated groups of 100, all of which were exposed to fertile, adult rams over the course of a 50-day breeding period. The first treatment group (RMR) was exposed to four melatonin-treated rams which were replaced every ten days, whilst the second treatment group (RM) was exposed to four melatonin-treated rams which were not replaced. Alternatively, the first control group (RCR) was exposed to four untreated rams which were replaced every ten days, whilst the second control group (RC) was exposed to four untreated rams which were not replaced. In each group, lambing dates, fertility rate, litter size, and distance in days from ram introduction to lambing (DRIL) were recorded. The highest fertility rate was recorded in the RMR group ( p ≤ 0.05). Shorter DRIL ( p ≤ 0.01) and higher lambing concentrations were recorded in the RM and RMR groups as compared to the controls. The findings indicate that melatonin treatment of rams and their replacement at 10-day intervals results in earlier onset of first mating, increased fertility rate in ewe lambs, and a higher number of ewes that lambs in a shorter time frame.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Circadian rhythms and reproduction.

          There is a growing recognition that the circadian timing system, in particular recently discovered clock genes, plays a major role in a wide range of physiological systems. Microarray studies, for example, have shown that the expression of hundreds of genes changes many fold in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, liver heart and kidney. In this review, we discuss the role of circadian rhythmicity in the control of reproductive function in animals and humans. Circadian rhythms and clock genes appear to be involved in optimal reproductive performance, but there are sufficient redundancies in their function that many of the knockout mice produced do not show overt reproductive failure. Furthermore, important strain differences have emerged from the studies especially between the various Clock (Circadian Locomotor Output Cycle Kaput) mutant strains. Nevertheless, there is emerging evidence that the primary clock genes, Clock and Bmal1 (Brain and Muscle ARNT-like protein 1, also known as Mop3), strongly influence reproductive competency. The extent to which the circadian timing system affects human reproductive performance is not known, in part, because many of the appropriate studies have not been done. With the role of Clock and Bmal1 in fertility becoming clearer, it may be time to pursue the effect of polymorphisms in these genes in relation to the various types of infertility in humans.
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            Melatonin protects human spermatozoa from apoptosis via melatonin receptor- and extracellular signal-regulated kinase-mediated pathways.

            To evaluate whether the protective effect of melatonin on H2O2-induced caspase activation and DNA fragmentation depends on the interaction between melatonin and its surface receptors. Laboratory study. Center for assisted human reproduction at a Spanish hospital. Twenty-one healthy donors. Human spermatozoa were treated with increasing concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2; 1 μM, 10 μM, 100 μM, 1 mM) and preincubated with 1 mM melatonin. Activation of caspase-3 and -9 as well as DNA fragmentation were examined by fluorescence methods. Our findings showed that H2O2 induced a significant increase in caspase-9 and caspase-3, which was dose independent. Conversely, pretreatment with melatonin reduced H2O2-mediated caspase activation in a dose-dependent way. Moreover, the antiapoptotic effects of melatonin in ejaculated human spermatozoa may involve membrane melatonin receptor MT1. In addition, we found that the survival-promoting pathway extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is likely to have a role in the protective actions of melatonin in ejaculated human spermatozoa. Finally, we confirmed these results further by demonstrating that melatonin prevention of H2O2-induced DNA fragmentation is dependent on both MT1 receptor and ERK signaling. These results indicate that the stimulation with melatonin triggers a set of events culminating in cell death prevention in ejaculated human spermatozoa. Copyright © 2011 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Seasonality of reproduction in sheep

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Animals (Basel)
                Animals (Basel)
                animals
                Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI
                MDPI
                2076-2615
                23 April 2021
                May 2021
                : 11
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy; gicosso@ 123456uniss.it (G.C.); sluridiana@ 123456uniss.it (S.L.); luisapulinas@ 123456hotmail.it (L.P.); g.pich93@ 123456gmail.com (G.P.); endvet@ 123456uniss.it (V.C.)
                [2 ]Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milan, 26900 Lodi, Italy; giulio.curone@ 123456unimi.it
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: mcmura@ 123456uniss.it ; Tel.: +39-079-229-437; Fax: +39-079-229-592
                Article
                animals-11-01227
                10.3390/ani11051227
                8146759
                33922809
                60448f64-af2b-4975-a1a4-61882df934a5
                © 2021 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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