To evaluate the potential effects of melatonin on the kinetics of embryo development and quality of blastocyst during the process of in vitro bovine embryo culture. Bovine cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were fertilized after in vitro maturation. The presumed zygotes were cultured in in vitro culture medium supplemented with or without 10-7 M melatonin. The cleavage rate, 8-cell rate and blastocyst rate were examined to identify the kinetics of embryo development. The hatched blastocyst rate, mortality rate after thawing and the relevant transcript abundance were measured to evaluate the quality of blastocyst. The results showed that melatonin significantly promoted the cleavage rate and 8-cell embryo yield of in vitro produced bovine embryo. In addition, significantly more blastocysts were observed by Day 7 of embryo culture at the presence of melatonin. These results indicated that melatonin accelerated the development of in vitro produced bovine embryos. Following vitrification at Day 7 of embryo culture, melatonin (10-7 M) significantly increased the hatched blastocyst rate from 24 h to 72 h and decreased the mortality rate from 48 h to 72 h after thawing. The presence of melatonin during the embryo culture resulted in a significant increase in the gene expressions of DNMT3A, OCC, CDH1 and decrease in that of AQP3 after thawing. In conclusion, melatonin not only promoted blastocyst yield and accelerated in vitro bovine embryo development, but also improved the quality of blastocysts which was indexed by an elevated cryotolerance and the up-regulated expressions of developmentally important genes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)