This study investigated the effect of diet supplemented with raw and roasted pumpkin seeds on some key biochemical parameters relevant to erectile function in corpus cavernosal tissues of male rats. Rats were fed with basal diets (NC), diet supplemented with raw (5% and 10%) and roasted (5% and 10%) pumpkin seeds for the evaluation of adenosine deaminase (ADA), phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5), arginase, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activities, including nitric oxide level and malondialdehyde (MDA) content. Diet supplemented with roasted pumpkin seeds showed better PDE-5, ADA, arginase activities, as well as NO and MDA levels. No significant difference was observed in AChE activities of rats treated with raw and roasted pumpkin seeds. The modulatory effects of raw and roasted pumpkin seeds on enzymes associated with erectile dysfunction suggest the biochemical rationale for its therapeutic role in enhancing erectile function. However, roasted pumpkin seeds (10%, w/w of diet) possess more beneficial effects than the raw seeds. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Pumpkin is a nutritious vegetable used in folklore for the treatment of bladder, prostate, and kidney diseases. The seeds are known to contain phenolic compounds which exert different health benefits. Processing of foods has been shown to either improve the quality or reduce the bioactive components which affect its functionality. In this study, roasting improved the biochemical parameters associated with erectile function in male rats. Roasted pumpkin seeds also reduced the oxidative stress parameters in rats' penile tissues when compared to raw pumpkin seeds. This study revealed that thermal processing associated with roasting could improve the antioxidant activity of pumpkin seeds and crucial enzymes related to erectile function. Hence, consumption of roasted pumpkin seeds could be more beneficial compared to raw pumpkin seeds.
Keywords: acetylcholinesterase; adenosine deaminase; arginase; erectile dysfunction; nitric oxide; pumpkin seeds.
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