Forms of selenium in vitamin-mineral mixes differentially affect serum prolactin concentration and hepatic glutamine synthetase activity of steers grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue

Yang Jia, Qing Li, W. R. Burris, Glenn E. Aiken, Phillip J. Bridges, James C. Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that sodium selenite (ISe), SEL-PLEX (OSe), vs. an 1:1 blend (MIX) of ISe and OSe in a basal vitamin-mineral (VM) mix would differentially affect metabolic parameters and performance of growing steers grazing toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue mixed forage (E+) pasture. Predominately-Angus steers (BW = 183 ± 34 kg) were randomly selected from herds of fall-calving cows grazing E+ pasture and consuming VM mixes that contained 35 ppm Se as ISe, OSe, and MIX forms. Steers were weaned, depleted of Se for 98 d, and subjected to summer-long common grazing of an E+ pasture (0.51 ppm total ergovaline per ergovalinine; 10.1 ha). Steers were assigned (n = 8 per treatment) to the same Se-form treatments upon which they were raised. Selenium treatments were administered by daily top-dressing 85 g of VM mix onto 0.23 kg soyhulls, using in-pasture Calan gates. The PROC MIXED procedure of SAS was used to assess effect of Se-form treatments on whole blood Se (ng/mL) and serum prolactin (ng/mL) at day 0, 22, 43, 64, and 86, and caudal arterial area (mm2) at day −7, 43, and 86. The effect of Se treatment on ADG (day 86), and liver glutamine synthetase (GS) mRNA, protein, and activity (nmol/mg wet tissue/min) were assessed using the PROC GLM procedure of SAS. Fisher’s protected LSD procedure was used to separate treatment means. Whole blood Se increased (P < 0.01) for all treatments from day 0 to 22 and then did not change (P ≥ 0.17), and was greater (P ≤ 0.04) for MIX and OSe steers. Serum prolactin decreased (P < 0.01) over time and was greater (P < 0.05) for MIX and OSe steers. Liver GS mRNA content was 66% and 59% greater (P < 0.05) in MIX and OSe steers, respectively, than ISe steers. Liver GS protein content in MIX steers was 94% more (P < 0.01) than ISe steers. Moreover, MIX and OSe steers had 99% and 55% more (P ≤ 0.01) liver GS activity, respectively, than ISe steers. ADG was not affected (P = 0.36) by Se treatments. We conclude that consumption of 3 mg Se/d as OSe or MIX forms of Se in VM mixes increased 1) whole blood Se content, an indicator of greater whole-body Se assimilation; 2) serum prolactin, the reduction of which is a hallmark of fescue toxicosis; and 3) hepatic GS activity, indicating greater hepatic assimilation of acinar ammonia. However, 4) these positive effects on metabolic parameters were not accompanied by increased growth performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-727
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This is publication No. 17-07-115 of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director. This work is supported by a United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Cooperative Agreement (JCM) and by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hatch project No. 1010352.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.


  • Fescue toxicosis
  • Glutamine synthetase
  • Prolactin
  • Selenium supplementation
  • Steer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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