Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Diet during early life defines testicular lipid content and sperm quality in adulthood

List of Authors: Crisostomo L, Videira RA, Jarak I, Starcevic K, Masek T, Rato L, Raposo JF, Batterham RL, Oliveira PF, Alves MG


Publication year: 2020

Journal: AJP - Endocrinology and Metabolism


Journal acronym: AM J PHYSIOL-ENDOC M

Volume number: 319

Issue number: 6

Number of pages: 13

ISSN: 0193-1849



Childhood obesity is a serious concern associated with ill health later in life. Emerging data suggest that obesity has long-term adverse effects upon male sexual and reproductive health, but few studies have addressed this issue. We hypothesized that exposure to high-fat diet during early life alters testicular lipid content and metabolism, leading to permanent damage to sperm parameters. After weaning (day 21 after birth), 36 male mice were randomly divided into three groups and fed with a different diet regimen for 200 days: a standard chow diet (CTRL), a high-fat diet (HFD) (carbohydrate: 35.7%, protein: 20.5%, and fat: 36.0%), and a high-fat diet for 60 days, then replaced by standard chow (HFDt). Biometric and metabolic data were monitored. Animals were then euthanized, and tissues were collected. Epididymal sperm parameters and endocrine parameters were evaluated. Testicular metabolites were extracted and characterized by 1H-NMR and GC-MS. Testicular mitochondrial and antioxidant activity were evaluated. Our results show that mice fed with a high-fat diet, even if only until early adulthood, had lower sperm viability and motility, and higher incidence of head and tail defects. Although diet reversion with weight loss during adulthood prevents the progression of metabolic syndrome, testicular content in fatty acids is irreversibly affected. Excessive fat intake promoted an overaccumulation of proinflammatory n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the testis, which is strongly correlated with negative effects upon sperm quality. Therefore, the adoption of high-fat diets during early life correlates with irreversible changes in testicular lipid content and metabolism, which are related to permanent damage to sperm quality later in life.

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Last updated on 2022-30-08 at 14:23