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A note on the effect of melatonin feeding on the initiation of ovarian activity and on plasma prolactin levels in lactating and non-lactating red deer hinds

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2010

Rachel Nowak
Affiliation:
Department of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT
R. N. Elmhirst
Affiliation:
Roundgreen Farm, Worsborough, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
R. G. Rodway
Affiliation:
Department of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT
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Abstract

Melatonin was fed daily at 14.00 h to eight non-lactating and six lactating hinds. Feeding was begun on 27 July 1983 (day 1) and continued until 21 September (day 57). Six non-lactating hinds were used as controls. Blood samples were taken about every 10 days from day 42 until day 73. Plasma progesterone and prolactin were determined by radioimmunoassay. Progesterone values of greater than 0·63 μg/1 were taken to indicate the presence of a corpus luteum and that the animal had ovulated. In the melatonintreated, non-lactating group seven of the eight hinds showed ovarian activity compared with two of the six controls (P < 0·01). None of the lactating hinds treated with melatonin showed evidence of ovarian activity. In both the lactating and non-lactating hinds treated with melatonin, prolactin levels were never greater than the detection limit of the assay (7·4 μg/l), while, in the control hinds mean prolactin levels were elevated on all but the last sampling day. It is, therefore, possible to induce early ovarian activity in non-lactating red deer hinds by feeding melatonin. However, although melatonin treatment similarly depressed plasma prolactin levels in both lactating and non-lactating hinds, it was unable to overcome the inhibitory effect of lactation on reproduction.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 1985

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References

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A note on the effect of melatonin feeding on the initiation of ovarian activity and on plasma prolactin levels in lactating and non-lactating red deer hinds
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