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HZAU Research Team Makes New Progress on Selenium Nutrition

Recently, Journal of Nutrition has published the paper entitled “A Novel Organic Selenium Compound Exerts Unique Regulation of Selenium Speciation, Selenogenome, and Selenoproteins in Broiler Chicks” on the latest findings in trace element selenium metabolism which is shared by a HZAU research team of feed safety and biotechnology. The first author is Zhao Ling, a master student of the Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science,HZAU, and the corresponding coauthors are Associate Professor Sun Lvhui of HZAU and Professor Lei Xingen of Cornell University ..

Selenium is an essential trace element for humans and animals, which has antioxidation, anticancer, detoxification and immunity enhancement properties. It performs biological function in organisms mainly through 25-26 Selenoproteins containing selenocysteine. At present, the selenium sources added in production process are the inorganic selenium (sodium selenite, SeNa) and organic selenium (seleno-yeast, SeY), in which organic selenium is preferentially recommended because of its higher bioavailability and low toxicity. A new organic selenium compound, 2-hydroxy-4-methylselenobutanoic acid (SeO), displays a greater bioavailability than SeNa or SeY in several species. However, many things have remained unclear, which includes the expression of selenogenome and selenocysteine biosynthesis and degradation-related genes, and the production of selenoproteins by the 3 forms of selenium in tissues.

In order to carry out research on the above scientific problems, the team systematically compares the metabolic law of the above 3 selenium sources (SeNa, SeY, SeO) in the tissues of broiler chicks. The study shows that SeO produces greater concentrations of total selenium (13-172%) in the liver and muscle than that of SeNa and SeY; SeO increases the gene expression of selenoproteins in the liver and muscle related to antioxidant defense, detoxification function and anti-inflammation effect which includes Gpx4, Selenos, Selenop, Selenou, and Mrsb1. The results reveal that dietary SeO supplementation can effectively produce selenium-rich livestock products and can improve the body resistance to environmental stress and metabolism-induced oxidative stress, which provides an important scientific basis for appropriately choosing selenium source in production process.

Sun Lvhui has been devoted to the study on selenium metabolism and function, and has made continuous research progress. This paper, as another research progress on selenium metabolism and function, has also been published in Journal of Nutrition following the previous paper in 2016 entitled “Prevention of Aflatoxin B1 Hepatoxicity by Dietary Selenium Is Associated with Inhibition of Cytochrome P450 Isozymes and Up-Regulation of 6 Selenoprotein Genes in Chick Liver”, which illustrates the regulatory mechanism of prevention of aflatoxin B1 in broiler liver damage.

This study has received the financial aid from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Key Technology Support Program, Adisseo Company, etc.

(By Fan Xiao)