Effects of selenium supplementation on plasma progesterone concentrations in pregnant heifers
It is known that selenium (Se) has various functions in animals. Many investigations on the biochemical and physiological effects of Se have been previously reported; however, the detailed function of Se in reproduction is not yet clear. We proposed the possibility that Se plays a notable role in progesterone production. The aim of this study was to clarify the effects of Se supplementation on progesterone levels of pregnant Holstein heifers. Eight Holstein heifers (−Se) were fed basal diet (containing 0.022 ppm of Se) throughout the experiment. While a 0.3 ppm diet of Se (sodium selenite) was fed to another seven animals (+Se) with basal diet. Blood sampling was carried out every week. Plasma Se concentrations were higher in Se‐supplemented cows compared with controls (−Se) (P < 0.01) throughout the experiment. Se supplementation increased plasma progesterone in the 29–39 weeks of pregnancy from 4.98 ± 0.64 to 6.86 ± 0.49 ng/mL on average (P < 0.05). The present findings suggest that Se contributes to maintaining the function of the corpus luteum and/or placenta in the latter period of pregnancy.
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