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Exp Gerontol. 2004 Aug;39(8):1189-98.

Dietary fat type (virgin olive vs. sunflower oils) affects age-related changes in DNA double-strand-breaks, antioxidant capacity and blood lipids in rats.

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Department of Physiology, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Granada, C/Ramón y Cajal 4 Edificio Fray Luis, Granada 18071, Spain.


This study was designed to investigate the possible effect on DNA double-strand breaks, antioxidant capacity and blood lipids of feeding rats lifelong with two different dietary fat sources: virgin olive oil (rich in the monounsaturated oleic acid) or sunflower oil (rich in the polyunsaturated linoleic acid). No changes in mean or maximal lifespan were observed. Overall, aging led to increased levels of plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids, total lipids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and DNA double-strand breaks. All these parameters were higher in animals fed on sunflower oil diet. Aging diminished total antioxidant capacity with both diets, but in a lower extension for virgin olive oil diet. A very good inverse correlation (r= -0.715; P < 0.01, for sunflower oil group and r= -0.535; P < 0.01 for virgin olive oil group) between DNA damage and total antioxidant capacity was found. These results allow to conclude that dietary fat type should be considered in studies on aging, since the intake of oils with different polyunsaturation levels directly modulates total antioxidant capacity of plasma, DNA damage to peripheral blood lymphocytes and lead to important changes at the lipid metabolism level. In the present study best results were found after intake of virgin olive oil, which suggest the possible use of that edible oil to provide a healthier aging.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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