To evaluate the influence of natural photoperiod on the daily rhythm of melatonin, we assessed melatonin plasma concentration at four different times of the year. Ten Sarda breed goats were led to the natural pasture during the day and were kept in a common stall during the night. Blood samples were collected by means of a cannula inserted into the jugular vein, every two hours for a 24-hour period during the vernal equinox, summer solstice, autumn equinox, and winter solstice. Our results showed the existence of clear seasonal variation in the daily rhythm of plasma melatonin in goats, with the highest MESOR value in winter followed by spring. Acrophase was always observed in the middle of the scotophase. Robustness of the rhythm was higher in the spring as compared to the winter. Our results showed a daily rhythm of plasma melatonin concentration strongly related to the seasons. These results could be useful to establish appropriately timed melatonin and/or photoperiod treatments for the management of reproductive physiology in goats.
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Amplitude of the plasma melatonin nycthemeral rhythms is not associated with the dates of onset and offset of the seasonal ovulatory in the Ile-de-France ewe.
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