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- Author or Editor: Theodora Tsiligianni x
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the feasibility of improving the synchronisation of lambing after oestrus synchronisation and artificial insemination (AI). To this end, low doses of dexamethasone 21-isonicotinate (DEX) alone or in combination with prostaglandin F 2a (PG) were used in five treated groups (n = 20 each) and one control group (n = 136) of Chios ewes. On day 143 of pregnancy 1.5 mg DEX was given in Group 5, while on day 146 the following treatments were applied: 0.0375 mg PG in Groups 4 and 5, and 1, 1.5 and 2 mg of DEX in ewes of Groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The control ewes received no treatment. The 1.5 and 2 mg dose of DEX was more effective in synchronising labour as regards the treatment to lambing interval and the proportion of ewes that gave birth within 3 days. However, obstetrical manipulations were needed, and dead lambs were born when 2 mg DEX was used. It was concluded that lambing can be safely synchronised in Chios ewes with 1.5 mg DEX given on day 146, without affecting the viability of lambs and without parturition complications.
Follicular development and oocyte quality were assessed by laparoscopic observation and in vitro fertilisation, respectively, in melatonin-treated (Group M) and control (Group C) anoestrous Chios ewes (n = 10 in each group). Fourteen days after melatonin insertion, all ewes had laparoscopic evaluation of the follicular population followed by oocyte pick-up (OPU); on day 22 intravaginal progestagen sponges were inserted for 14 days. Two days after sponge removal the follicular population was re-evaluated and a second follicular aspiration was performed. Collected oocytes from the second OPU underwent in vitro maturation, fertilisation and culture. The number of large follicles was higher in Group M than in the control ewes during the first OPU and tended to be so (P = 0.06) at the second. Morphologically, oocytes collected from controls were of better quality than those from Group M; however, more oocytes collected from melatonintreated animals fertilised and developed in vitro . These results indicate that melatonin is a potent regulator of follicular development and oocyte competence during the anoestrous period of the ewe.