Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 43, Number 1, January-February 2003
Page(s) 91 - 103
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 43 (2003) 91-103
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2003008

Oxidative status and semen characteristics of rabbit buck as affected by dietary

Cesare Castellinia, Paolo Lattaiolia, Alessandro Dal Boscoa, Alba Minellib and Cecilia Mugnaia

a  Dipartimento di Scienze Zootecniche, 6123, Perugia, Italy
b  Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche e Biotecnologiche Molecolari, Sezione di Biochimica Cellulare, Perugia, 06123, Italy

(Received 15 September 2002; accepted 13 December 2002)

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation of long chain fatty acids (C $\geq$ 20 LCP) of the n-3 series, vitamin E and vitamin C on the antioxidant capacity of rabbit buck and on semen characteristics. Fifty male rabbits at 30 days were randomly assigned to five different diets: Control (50 mg $\cdot$kg -1 diet $\alpha$-tocopheryl acetate), Vitamin E (200 mg $\cdot$kg -1 diet $\alpha$-tocopheryl acetate), n-3 (2% ROPUFA oil + 50 mg $\cdot$kg -1 diet $\alpha$-tocopheryl acetate), n-3 + E (2% ROPUFA oil + 200 mg $\cdot$kg -1 diet $\alpha$-tocopheryl acetate) and n-3 + E C (2% ROPUFA oil + 200 mg $\cdot$kg -1 diet $\alpha$-tocopheryl acetate + 0.5 g $\cdot$L -1 vitamin C in the drinking water). The levels of vitamins E and C and reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs) in the blood plasma were evaluated at different ages. The antioxidant capacity and ROMs of seminal plasma, the fatty acid profile of sperm phospholipids, the semen traits and the oxidative processes during storage (24 h at + 4 °C) were carried out weekly for 5 wk starting from the 5th month of age. Vitamin E addition showed enough antioxidant protection only when associated with no lipid enriched diets. The n-3 supplementation modified the fatty acid profile of the spermatozoa membrane and simultaneously enhanced oxidative processes. Only the association with supranutritional levels of vitamins E and C inhibited the oxidative processes and improved the characteristics of fresh and stored rabbit semen.

Key words: rabbit spermatozoa / oxidative status / vitamins C and E / n-3 fatty acids

Correspondence and reprints: Cesare Castellini

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003