Summary. In May mature seasonally anoestrous ewes were implanted with melatonin which advanced the onset of cycles by about 1 month. The LH response to an opioid antagonist, WIN-3, was determined 5, 15, 25 and 60 days after melatonin implantation, by intravenous administration of WIN-3 (12·5 mg/dose) 4 times at 15-min intervals during both the 1st and the 5th hour of an 8-h treatment period. There was no effect of WIN-3 at 5, 15 and 25 days after melatonin implantation. At 60 days LH concentration and pulse frequency were significantly increased (P < 0·05 and <0·01 respectively) in response to WIN-3 treatment, but only in those animals which had begun reproductive cycles, an effect known to be mediated by the presence of progesterone. We were therefore unable to find evidence to support the hypothesis that the influence of melatonin in advancing the breeding season may be via an opioidergic pathway.
Keywords: opiods; LH; melatonin; ewes
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