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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2010 Apr;24(2):119-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Supplementation of selenium reduces chemical hepatocarcinogenesis in male Sprague-Dawley rats.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Julan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Selenium is an essential micronutrient mineral found mainly in soils and has been shown to prevent certain cancers in humans and animals. However, the dose and effects of selenium on liver cancer are controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of sodium selenite (4 mg/kg in drinking water) on chemically induced hepatocarcinogenesis in rats. Hepatocarcinogenesis was induced by a single intraperitoneal injection of diethyl nitrosamine (DEN) (200 mg/kg body weight) and 2 weeks later, the carcinogenic effect was promoted by 2-acetylaminofluorene (2-AAF) (0.02%). 44 Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 6 groups: negative control, positive control (DEN+2-AAF), pre-selenium group (sodium selenite for 4 weeks, then DEN+2-AAF), pre-selenium control group (sodium selenite for 4 weeks, no DEN or 2-AAF), post-selenium group (sodium selenite for 8 weeks after 4 weeks of DEN injection) and post-selenium control group (sodium selenite for 8 weeks, no DEN or 2-AAF). Hematoxylin and eosin plus Gordon and Sweet's methods were used to stain liver tissues. The results showed that the number and sizes of hepatic nodules in pre- and post-selenium treatment groups significantly decreased (P<0.05) compared with the positive control. Microscopic analysis of pre- and post-selenium groups showed that the majority of nodules were hyperplastic with preserved liver architecture, whereas the positive control was full of neoplastic nodules with a completely disrupted liver architecture. Hence, pre- and post-selenium treatments can reduce the extent of liver cancer on chemically induced hepatocarcinogenesis in rats.

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