Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids induce plasminogen activator activity and DNA damage in rabbit spermatozoa

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The aim of this study was to determine the effect(s) of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFA) on rabbit semen. Adult rabbit bucks were assigned to two groups that were given two diets, a standard diet (control) and a diet supplemented with ω-3 PUFA. Sperm samples were collected from all bucks with the use of an artificial vagina in 20-day intervals, for a total period of 120 days. The enrichment of membranes in ω-3 PUFA was manifested by the elevation of the 22:5 ω-3 (docosapentaenoic acid [DPA]) levels within 40 days. This increase in DPA content did not affect semen characteristics (i.e., concentration, motility and viability). However, it was associated with the induction of lipid peroxidation in spermatozoa, as determined on the basis of the malondialdehyde content. Lipid peroxidation was associated with DNA fragmentation in ω-3 PUFA-enriched spermatozoa and a concomitant increase in plasminogen activator (PA) activity. The effects of ω-3 PUFA on sperm cells were evident within 40 days of ω-3 PUFA dietary intake and exhibited peack values on day 120. Our findings suggest that an ω-3 PUFA-rich diet may not affect semen characteristics; however, it may have a negative impact on the oxidative status and DNA integrity of the spermatozoa, which was associated with an induction of PAs activity.

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