Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Steroid hormone concentrations and body mass are differently affected by polyunsaturated fatty acids during the oestrous cycle in guinea pigs

Matthias Nemeth A D , Bernard Wallner A B , Carina Siutz A , Elisabeth Pschernig A , Karl-Heinz Wagner C and Eva Millesi A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Vienna, Faculty of Life Sciences, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

B Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna, Faculty of Life Sciences, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

C Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Faculty of Life Sciences, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

D Corresponding author. Email: matthias.nemeth@univie.ac.at

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - https://doi.org/10.1071/RD17242
Submitted: 28 June 2017  Accepted: 4 December 2017   Published online: 8 January 2018

Abstract

Reproductive functions in female mammals can be significantly affected by the actions of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on steroid hormone secretion rates. Nevertheless, the effects of plasma free PUFAs on the oestrous cycle have seldom been considered. Therefore, in the present study, the diet of domestic guinea pigs was supplemented with high concentrations of different PUFAs and the effects of altered plasma PUFA patterns on steroid hormone concentrations, measured non-invasively, and body mass during oestrus and dioestrus were analysed. The oestrous cycle was characterised by increased oestrogen and cortisol concentrations in oestrus, corroborated by lowest bodyweight, whereas progesterone concentrations were highest in dioestrus. Plasma concentrations of the long-chain PUFAs docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6 ω3) and arachidonic acid (AA; 20:5 ω6) affected steroid hormone concentrations differently in oestrus and dioestrus. DHA positively affected oestrogen and progesterone concentrations and diminished cortisol concentrations only in oestrus. In contrast, AA negatively affected oestrogen and stimulated cortisol concentrations in oestrus and reduced progesterone concentrations in general. These findings imply selective and opposite contributions of DHA and AA to ovarian functions during different stages of the oestrous cycle, indicating a high biological relevance of plasma free PUFAs in female reproductive function.

Additional keywords: enzyme-linked immunoassay, linoleic acid, α-linolenic acid.


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