Effects of dietary selenium supplementation on DNA damage and apoptosis in canine prostate

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Feb 5;95(3):237-41. doi: 10.1093/jnci/95.3.237.


The trace mineral selenium inhibits cancer development in a variety of experimental animal models. We used an in vivo canine model to evaluate the effects of dietary selenium supplementation on DNA damage in prostate tissue and on apoptosis in prostate epithelial cells. Sexually intact elderly male beagle dogs were randomly assigned to receive an unsupplemented diet (control group) or diets that were supplemented with selenium (treatment group), either as selenomethionine or as high-selenium yeast at 3 micro g/kg or 6 micro g/kg body weight per day for 7 months. The extent of DNA damage in prostate cells and in peripheral blood lymphocytes, as determined by the alkaline comet assay, was lower among the selenium-supplemented dogs than among the control dogs (prostate P<.001; peripheral blood lymphocytes P =.003; analysis of variance) but was not associated with the activity of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase in plasma. The median number of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling-positive (i.e., apoptotic) prostate epithelial cells was 3.7 (interquartile range = 1.1-7.6) for the selenium-supplemented dogs and 1.7 (interquartile range = 0.2-2.8) for the control dogs ( P =.04, Mann-Whitney U test). These data suggest that dietary selenium supplementation decreases DNA damage and increases epithelial cell apoptosis within the aging canine prostate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dogs
  • Lymphocytes
  • Male
  • Prostate / drug effects*
  • Prostate / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Random Allocation
  • Selenium Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Urothelium / drug effects
  • Urothelium / pathology


  • Selenium Compounds