Influence of Commercial Dietary Oils on Lipid Composition and Testosterone Production in Interstitial Cells Isolated from Rat Testis


The aim of this study was to examine the influence of dietary fat on lipid composition, as well as on the steroidogenic function of interstitial cells isolated from Wistar rats that had been fed semi-synthetic diets containing four different commercial oils (S soybean, O olive, C coconut, and G grape seed). Steroidogenic enzyme activities, lipid composition, and androgen production were measured in testicular interstitial cells. Lipid analysis included measurement of the contents of major lipid subclasses (neutral lipids, polar lipids, free and esterified cholesterol), as well as principal polar and neutral lipid fatty acyl compositions. Significant differences in lipid composition were observed among the groups, most of them reflecting the specific fatty acyl composition of the diet tested. Testosterone concentration was higher in O and C groups compared with S or G. In agreement with this observation, the activity of both key enzymes involved in testosterone biosynthesis (3-β-HSD and 17-β-HSD) was higher in O and C groups with significant differences between them (O > C). A significant negative correlation was found between cellular testosterone production and cellular cholesterol ester content. Additionally, testosterone concentration directly correlated with cholesterol levels. We conclude that dietary oils qualitatively and quantitatively modified the lipid composition of interstitial cells, producing either a direct or indirect regulatory effect on testicular steroidogenic function.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3





Free cholesterol


Esterified cholesterol


Double bond index


Fatty acids


Fatty acid methyl esters


Grape seed


3β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase


17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase


High performance liquid chromatography


Luteinizing hormone


Monounsaturated FA


Neutral lipids




Polar lipids (phospholipids)


Polyunsaturated FA


Relative chromatographic mobility






Saturated FA




Total lipids


Thin layer chromatography




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The authors are grateful to Eva Illara de Bozzolo and Cristina Pallanza de Stringa for excellent technical assistance. This study was partially supported by grants from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), Argentina.

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Correspondence to Carlos Alberto Marra.

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de Catalfo, G.E.H., de Alaniz, M.J.T. & Marra, C.A. Influence of Commercial Dietary Oils on Lipid Composition and Testosterone Production in Interstitial Cells Isolated from Rat Testis. Lipids 44, 345 (2009).

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  • Lipid composition
  • Fatty acids
  • Testosterone production
  • Testicular interstitial cells
  • Dietary lipids