Effect of melatonin supplementation on pregnancy outcome in Wistar-Kyoto and Sprague-Dawley rats

Sheng Li Xue Bao. 2013 Apr 25;65(2):149-57.

Abstract

Although melatonin supplementation is known to influence numerous physiological functions, little is however known of its effects on pregnancy outcome. This study investigated the effects of melatonin supplementation on pregnancy outcome in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats aged 12-13 weeks. Upon confirmation of proestrus, each female rat was housed overnight with a male of the same strain. On the next morning, following confirmation of mating (vaginal smear), WKY female rats were isolated into individual metabolic cages and given 0, 25, 50 or 100 mg/kg per day of melatonin in drinking water from day 1 of pregnancy to day 21 postpartum. SD females were given 0 or 100 mg/kg per day of melatonin. Maternal weight, duration of pregnancy, litter size, birth weight and body weight of pups up to day 42, and pup mortality were recorded. Data were analyzed using ANOVA for repeated measures. Compared to controls, maternal weight gain during pregnancy was significantly lower in melatonin-supplemented dams (P < 0.01). Litter size was significantly smaller in melatonin-supplemented dams (P < 0.01). Mean birth weight of pups was significantly lower only in pups of dams given 100 mg/kg per day of melatonin (P < 0.001). Mean body weight of pups of dams given melatonin was significantly lower than controls (P < 0.01). Pup mortalities were 9.5% and 21.6% in WKY dams given 25 and 100 mg/kg per day of melatonin respectively, and all pup deaths occurred after day 21 of weaning. The results suggest that melatonin supplementation during antenatal and postpartum period appears to adversely affect litter size, pup growth and mortality in WKY and SD rats. The precise mechanism causing the death is not clear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Litter Size
  • Melatonin / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Pregnancy, Animal / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred WKY
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Weaning

Substances

  • Melatonin