The effect of dietary Docosahexaenoic acid on testis function in relation to lipid composition from fetus to adult rats exposed to prenatal ethanol

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Ramezani, Fatemeh
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Testis unique lipid environment is vital for fertility potential. Prenatal ethanol (EtOH) exposure impairs, but dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supports testis functions. However, these impacts on the developmental profile are less investigated. This study examined the effect of dietary DHA on testis function in relation to testis lipid composition in rats exposed to prenatal EtOH. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to EtOH (3g/kg twice a day) or dextrose throughout the gestational period, while dams and their pups were fed with a semi-purified diet supplemented with and without DHA (1.4%, w/w fatty acids) throughout the study. Samples were collected at gestational day (GD) 20, postnatal day (PD) 4, PD21, PD49, and PD90 for further analysis. As the testis developed, n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), mainly docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and n-6 very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA) increased markedly replacing n-3 PUFA, predominately DHA and MUFA. The triacylglycerides (TAG) fraction contained the highest proportion of both n-6 DPA and total n-6 VLCFA, increasing from PD21 to PD90. Dietary DHA increased the levels of fetal serum testosterone and sperm with normal morphology in adulthood, regardless of EtOH exposure. The testis DHA levels increased in DHA-treated groups, regardless of EtOH exposure and testis maturation, replacing n-6 DPA and total n-6 VLCFA only in immature testis up to PD21. Overall, the early provision of DHA in the diet can be a positive factor for male fertility by affecting sperm quality in adulthood, likely by influencing testis DHA content and testosterone levels in the fetal period. Marked increases in testicular n-6 DPA and n-6 VLCFA accumulation as the testis matures, mostly in TAG, indicates their potential role in testis development. The minimal impact of moderate levels of prenatal EtOH exposure on testis function might be related to an energy-dense diet used in this study that warrants further attention in future.
docosahexaenoic acid, prenatal ethanol exposure, male infertility, testis lipid composition, testis development
Kapourchali FR, Feltham B, & Suh M (2018) Food for male reproductive tract health: Omega-3 fatty acids. Encyclopedia of Food Chemistry. Vol 3, pp330-336