Hypertension is associated with greater than normal lipoperoxidation and an imbalance in antioxidant status, suggesting that oxidative stress is important in the pathogenesis of this disease. Although many studies have examined the effect of antioxidants in the diet on hypertensión and other disorders, less attention has been given to the evaluation of the role of specific dietary lipids in modulating endogenous antioxidant enzyme status. Previously, we have described that liver antioxidant enzyme activities may be modulated by consumption of different oils in normotensive rats. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of feeding different lipidic diets (olive oil, OO, high-oleic-acid sunflower oil, HOSO, and fish oil, FO) on liver antioxidant enzyme activities of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Plasma and liver lipid composition was also studied. Total triacylglycerol concentration increases in plasma and liver of animals fed on the HOSO and OO diets and decreases in those fed on the FO diet, relative to rats fed the control diet. The animals fed on the oil-enriched diet show similar hepatic cholesterol and phospholipid contents, which are higher than the control group. Consumption of the FO diet results in a decrease in the total cholesterol and phospholipid concentration in plasma, compared with the high-oleic-acid diets. In liver, the FO group show higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of the (n-3) series, in relation to the animals fed on the diets enriched in oleic acid. Livers of FO-fed rats, compared with those of OO- and HOSO-fed rats showed: (i) significantly higher activities of catalase, glutathione peroxidase and Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase; (ii) no differences in the NADPH-cytochrome c reductase activity. The HOSO diet had a similar effect on liver antioxidant enzyme activities as the OO diet. In conclusion, it appears that changes in the liver fatty acid composition due mainly to n-3 lipids may enhance the efficiency of the antioxidant defence system and may yield a benefit in the hypertension status. The two monounsaturated fatty acids oils studied (OO and HOSO), with the same high content of oleic acid, but different content of natural antioxidants, had similar effects on the antioxidant enzyme activities studied.

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