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.