Effects of selenium source on measures of selenium status and immune function in horses

Julia B. Montgomery, Jeffrey J. Wichtel, Maureen G. Wichtel, Mary A. McNiven, J. T. McClure, Fred Markham, David W. Horohov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The effects of selenium (Se) supplementation and source on equine immune function have not been extensively studied. This study examined the effects of oral Se supplementation and Se source on aspects of innate and adaptive immunity in horses. Fifteen horses were assigned to 1 of 3 groups (5 horses/group): control, inorganic Se (sodium selenite), organic Se (Se yeast). Immune function tests performed included: lymphocyte proliferation in response to mitogen concanavalin A, neutrophil phagocytosis, antibody production after rabies vaccination, relative cytokine gene expression in stimulated lymphocytes [interferon gamma (IFNg), interleukin (IL)-2, IL-5, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa)], and neutrophils (IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12, TNFa). Plasma, red blood cell Se, and blood glutathione peroxidase activity were measured. Plasma and red blood cell Se were highest in horses in the organic Se group, compared with that of inorganic Se or control groups. Organic Se supplementation increased the relative lymphocyte expression of IL-5, compared with inorganic Se or no Se. Selenium supplementation increased relative neutrophil expression of IL-1 and IL-8. Other measures of immune function were unaffected. Dietary Se content and source appear to influence immune function in horses, including alterations in lymphocyte expression of IL-5, and neutrophil expression of IL-1 and IL-8.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-291
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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