Melatonin increases cleavage rate of porcine preimplantation embryos in vitro

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Journal of Pineal Research


Melatonin has been used to promote in vitro embryo development in different species. This study determined the effects of melatonin on in vitro porcine embryo development; in particular, cleavage rate, blastocyst rate, and blastocyst cell number. Starting 5 hr after insemination, porcine zygotes were cultured in porcine zygote medium 3 (PZM-3) culture medium supplemented with melatonin at increasing concentrations (10-12 m, 10-9 m, 10-6 m, 10-3 m). Melatonin at a concentration of 10 -9 m had a positive effect on cleavage rates, while the highest concentration of melatonin (10-3 m) significantly decreased cleavage rates. Although blastocyst rates were not increased by 10-9 m melatonin, blastocyst cell numbers were significantly higher for embryos subjected to 10-9 m melatonin. The expression levels of the pro-apoptotic gene BAX and anti-apoptotic gene BCL2L1 in blastocysts were not affected by the presence of melatonin in the culture medium. To further study the protective properties of 10-9 m melatonin against stressful conditions, hydrogen peroxide (0.01 mm) and heat (40°C) were used during embryo culture. The addition of melatonin to embryos subjected to 40°C for 3 hr increased cleavage rates, but had no protective effect for embryos subjected to 0.01 mm H2O2, probably because the physiological levels of melatonin could not counteract the pharmacological levels of H 2O2. Our data indicate that 10-9 m melatonin has a positive effect on porcine embryo cleavage rates and blastocyst total cell numbers and it might have a protective effect against heat stress. © 2007 The Authors Journal.

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