Exposure to low x-ray doses damages the spermatozoa, mainly by late-onset (ie, after 3 months) oxidative stress. Antioxidants ameliorate oxidation and prevent tissue damage. Prunus armeniaca L (apricot), rich in carotenoids and vitamins, is a potent natural antioxidant. We hypothesized that an apricot-rich diet might ameliorate the detrimental effects of low-dose x-rays on testis tissue. A 20% apricot diet was composed isoenergetically to the regular rodent diet. The total phenolic content, reducing power, and antioxidant capacity of both diets were determined. Sprague-Dawley rats received apricot-rich diets before and after x-ray exposure. Regular diets were given to controls. Rats were exposed to 0.2 Gy x-rays at the eighth week and were euthanized at the 20th postexposure week. Testicular oxidative status was determined by tissue thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, reduced glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and catalase activities. For histologic evaluation, qualitative and quantitative microscopic determinations were performed, and Leydig and Sertoli cell counts and Johnsen scores were measured. The control diet group had significant testicular oxidative stress and mild tissue deterioration. Leydig and Sertoli cell counts, tubule diameters, and Johnsen scores were significantly decreased in the exposure groups. Apricot-rich diet significantly ameliorated the oxidative status and prevented the damage in tubular histology. The protective effects were prominent when the diet was maintained throughout the time course and were partially protected when the diet was initiated after exposure. The natural antioxidant activity of apricot ameliorates the delayed detrimental effects of low-dose irradiation on testis tissue. The high total antioxidant capacity of the apricot deserves further investigation. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.