British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Thermally oxidised sunflower-seed oil increases liver and serum peroxidation and modifies lipoprotein composition in rats

Carmen Garrido-Polonioa1, M. Carmen García-Linaresa2, M. Trinidad García-Ariasa2, Sara López-Varelaa1, M. Camino García-Fernándeza2, Antonius H. M. Terpstraa3 and Francisco J. Sánchez-Muniza1 c1

a1 Departamento de Nutrición y Bromatología I (Nutrición), Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, E-28040 Madrid, Spain

a2 Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de León, León, Spain

a3 Department of Laboratory Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands


Peroxidation of LDL and other lipoproteins is thought to play a central role in atherogenesis. Dietary thermally oxidised oils may increase atherogenic risk in consumers by increasing their oxidative status. The present paper compares the effects of two diets containing unused sunflower-seed oil (US) or sunflower-seed oil repeatedly used in frying (FS) (both 15 g/100 g diet) on weight gain, food efficiency ratio, serum lipid levels and lipoprotein composition, and the content of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) in the liver, serum, and lipoproteins in growing Wistar rats. After sixty potato fryings the FS contained 27·7 g polar material/100 g oil and 16·6 g oligomers/100 g oil. The FS-fed rats had a significantly lower weight gain and food efficiency ratio. Liver-TBARS increased due to the consumption of the highly altered oil and showed a significant linear relationship (all r<0·68; P>0·002) with the ingestion of thermally oxidised compounds. Serum-, VLDL-, LDL- and HDL-TBARS were significantly higher in the FS-fed rats (all P>0·001). Concentrations of serum total and non-esterified cholesterol and phospholipids were significantly higher in the FS-fed rats (P>0·05, P>0·05, and P>0·001, respectively). Serum triacylglycerol concentrations did not vary between the two dietary groups. Total and esterified cholesterol and phospholipid levels increased significantly in the HDL fraction (P>0·05, P>0·05, and P>0·001, respectively) of the FS-fed rats. HDL-cholesterol and HDL-phospholipids were significantly correlated with liver-TBARS (r<0·747; P>0·0001), VLDL-TBARS (r<0·642; P>0·003), LDL-TBARS (r<0·475; P>0·04), and HDL-TBARS (r<0·787; P>0·0001). The data suggest that the rat increases HDL as a protecting mechanism against the peroxidative stress induced by the consumption of a diet containing the thermally oxidised oil.

(Received September 23 2003)

(Revised March 15 2004)

(Accepted March 19 2004)


c1 *Corresponding author: fax +34 91 3941732, email