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Effects of selenium supplementation on plasma progesterone concentrations in pregnant heifers

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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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Keywords: corpus luteum; heifer; pregnancy; progesterone; selenium

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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