Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


To determine if zinc affects prostaglandin synthesis in the rat testis, one group of rats was fed a zinc deficient (< 1 ppm) diet and two control groups were pair fed and ad lib fed a zinc sufficient (100 ppm) diet. The diets of half the zinc deficient and pair fed rats were supplemented with docosapentaenoic acid to determine if low levels of this acid, observed in the testes of zinc deficient rats, was responsible for some of the symptoms of zinc deficiency in the testis. In the tunica, 6-keto-PGF(,1(alpha)) and PGE(,2) levels (ng/gm) were lower in zinc deficient rats compared to controls, but there was no difference when PG concentration was expressed as ng/mg protein. In the testis parenchyma, zinc deficient rats had higher levels of PGs, probably due to increased levels of the precursor, arachidonic acid. PG synthesis was greater in tunica compared to parenchyma and in both tissues 6-keto-PGF(,1(alpha)) levels were much higher than those of PGE(,2). Decosapentaenoic acid supplementation had no effect on testis weight, PGs or sperm counts. It also had no effect on 22:5(omega)6 concentration in testes lipids implying that the level of supplementation was too low to have an effect, if any, on the testes. It was concluded that zinc affects PG levels in the testes, but only indirectly, through an effect on protein and fatty acid levels. It was also concluded that PGI(,2) was the major PG produced by the testis and that PG synthesis was an important function of the tunica.