Effects of Different Dietary Selenium Sources on Antioxidant Status and Blood Phagocytic Activity in Sheep

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017 Feb;175(2):339-346. doi: 10.1007/s12011-016-0794-0. Epub 2016 Jul 13.


The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effects of feed supplementation with equivalent doses of selenium from sodium selenite (SS) or selenized yeast (SY) on Se deposition, selenoenzyme activity and lipid peroxidation in tissues as well as in bacterial and protozoal fractions of rumen contents in sheep. The phagocytic activity of monocytes and neutrophils in whole blood was also assessed after 3 months of dietary treatment. While animals in the control group were fed with unsupplemented basal diet (BD) containing only background Se (0.16 mg/kg DM), the diet of the other two groups (n = 6) consisted of identical BD enriched with 0.4 mg Se/kg DM either from SS or SY. Concentrations of Se in blood and tissues were found to be significantly increased in both supplemented groups. No response in Se deposition was recorded in the musculus longissimus dorsi of sheep given dietary SS. The intake of SY resulted in a significantly higher Se level in the blood, kidney medulla, skeletal muscles, heart, intestinal and ruminal mucosa than in the case of SS supplementation. No differences appeared between tissue Se contents in the liver and kidney cortex due to the source of added Se. Regardless of source, Se supplementation to feeds significantly increased the glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in blood and tissues except the kidney medulla and jejunal mucosa. Supplementation with SY resulted in significantly higher activity of thioredoxin reductase in the liver and ileal mucosa, and also reduced malondialdehyde content in the liver and duodenal mucosa. Dietary Se intake increased Se concentrations in the total rumen contents and bacterial and protozoal fractions. The accumulation of Se in rumen microbiota was associated with increased GPx activity. Phagocytic cell activity was enhanced by Se supplementation. Our results indicate that Se from both sources has beneficial effects on antioxidant status in sheep and can be utilized by rumen microflora.

Keywords: Rumen; Selenized yeast; Selenoenzyme; Sheep; Sodium selenite.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects*
  • Selenium / pharmacology
  • Sheep
  • Sodium Selenite / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Selenium
  • Sodium Selenite