Dietary lipids modify redox homeostasis and steroidogenic status in rat testis

Nutrition. Jul-Aug 2008;24(7-8):717-26. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2008.03.008.


Objective: The present study explored the effect of dietary oils on lipid composition, antioxidant status, and the activity of the main steroidogenic enzymes in the testis.

Methods: Forty Wistar rats were randomly assigned to one of four groups (n = 10) fed for 60 d on the same basal diet plus different lipid sources as commercial oils: soybean, olive, coconut, or grapeseed. After sacrifice, testicular lipids and fatty acid composition, free radical biomarkers, antioxidant levels, hormones, and steroidogenic enzymes were determined.

Results: The lipid composition of diets produced significant changes in neutral/phospholipids, free/esterified cholesterol, and plasmalogen proportion. Fatty acid patterns of these lipids were also strongly modified, influencing the double bond index. We also found a close correlation between the type of diet and the generation of free radicals. The oxidative stress in testes was higher with the grapeseed oil-supplemented diet and decreased with the other diets in this order: soybean oil > olive oil > coconut oil. Animals fed with the olive oil and coconut oil diets showed the highest testicular levels of antioxidants in addition to significantly high levels of testosterone and 3beta- or 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes.

Conclusion: Different oils in the diets strongly modified the homeostasis of the testicular antioxidant defense system and, in consequence, affected steroidogenic function, showing a clear correlation with the damage induced. According to our results, an appropriate mixture of olive and soybean oils could be a healthy recommendation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Coconut Oil
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Male
  • Olive Oil
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Soybean Oil / pharmacology
  • Testis / drug effects*
  • Testis / enzymology
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Testosterone
  • Soybean Oil
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Coconut Oil