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Physiol Behav. 2006 Feb 28;87(2):430-40. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

Effects of selenium depletion and selenium repletion by choice feeding on selenium status of young and old laying hens.

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  • 1Institute of Animal Sciences, Nutrition Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


We investigated the effect of choice feeding two diets with different selenium (Se) content to young and old moderately Se-deficient laying hens on serum Se (SSe), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), vitamin E, creatine kinase (CK), aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT), thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Each of two consecutive study parts (I and II) with the same hens and treatments began with a 6-week baseline period (Medium-Se diet), followed by a 9-week depletion period (Low-Se or Medium-Se diet), followed by a 6-week choice period with two different diets offered simultaneously (Medium-Se/Low-Se, Medium-Se/High-Se, or Low-Se/High-Se). During both depletion periods, SSe and GPX gradually decreased, whereas T4 gradually increased in hens fed Low-Se confirming gradual Se-depletion. T3 decreased transiently in young hens only. As reported earlier, Se-deficient hens preferred High-Se over Low-Se diet during the first 3 weeks of choice feeding in part I, not however in part II. This preference resulted in higher SSe in these hens. GPX activity did not reflect feed preference, probably because Se-intake exceeded Se-requirement for maximal GPX activity. In Part II, hens depleted with Low-Se diet had higher SSe when previously offered High-Se diet in either combination, than when offered Low-Se/Medium-Se, presumably due to Se-stores built during choice feeding in part I, which possibly prevented development of Se-deficiency in part II. In addition, in older hens, Se depletion proceeded faster, whereas Se-repletion by choice feeding was slower than in young hens, indicating the increase in Se requirement with advancing age. Vitamin E, ASAT and CK remained largely unchanged by the treatments.

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