Anti-hypercholesterolemic impacts of barley and date palm fruits on the ovary of Wistar albino rats and their offspring

Reprod Biol. 2018 Sep;18(3):236-251. doi: 10.1016/j.repbio.2018.07.003. Epub 2018 Jul 10.


A high cholesterol diet is related to ovarian dysfunction and infertility which has been increased among young ages consuming processed food products. The present study was conducted to evaluate the role of a high cholesterol diet on the ovaries of young female rats via assessments of histopathology, immunohistochemistry, oxidative stress and apoptic markers. Also, mating of hypercholesterolemic female rats was carried out to measure the fertility and numbers of their offspring. At the same time, phytotherapy was carried out through supplementing the diet with barley and/ or date palm fruits (10%) during the experiment to assess the phyto-therapeutic impacts in attenuation of drastic hypercholesterolemic effects. Hypercholesterolemic diet-fed rats exhibited damage of the ovarian follicles and increased follicular atresia. Furthermore, expression of cleaved caspase-3 was upregulated, while PCNA was downregulated in granulosa, theca and stroma cells. Hypercholesterolemic female rats showed marked depletion of antioxidative enzymes, increased lipid peroxidation and apoptotic markers. Alterations to the female serum hormones were detected. Offspring maternally fed on hypercholesterolemic diet showed a significant decrease of body weight and altered sex ratio. However, concomitant supplementation of barley and or date fruits to hypercholesterolemic groups revealed marked improvement of ovarian structure and function. On the basis of these evidences, it is believed that the enhanced synergistic effects of barley and/or date palm fruits in the amelioration of ovarian structure and functions were elicited by the potential antioxidant activity of their phytomicronutrients, polyphenols, β-glucan and trace elements. These materials scavenge free radicals from inflamed cells that can be used to establish an effective and novel therapeutic strategy for activating ovarian cell regeneration.

Keywords: Barley; Caspase-3; Date palm fruit; Hypercholesterolemia; Ovary; Oxidative stress; PCNA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Follicular Atresia / metabolism*
  • Hordeum*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism
  • Hypercholesterolemia / pathology
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Ovary / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phoeniceae*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Plant Extracts
  • Caspase 3