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Acta Vet Scand. 1996;37(1):19-30.

Selenium and fertility in animals and man--a review.

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Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.


To evaluate the information on selenium with relation to fertility in animals and man the available literature was reviewed. Selenium is incorporated in the sperm mitochondria capsule and may thus affect the behavior and function of the spermazoon. Se seems to be essential for normal spermatozoa development in both experimental animals and in livestock and probably also in humans. Regarding selenium and female fertility only sparse information exists. In experimental animals a low selenium level affects fertility in males, but little attention has been devoted to female reproductive performance, and the data are insufficient for conclusion. In livestock numerous investigations have been performed and the effects of selenium supplementation often in combination with other antioxidants have been evaluated, but no valid conclusion can be drawn. In general adequate nutritional supply will secure optimal reproduction in both males and females, while additional supplementation seems to have a negative effect. In humans contradictive information is found. Both low and high sperm selenium concentrations are reported to have a negative influence on the number of spermatozoa and on the motility. The optimal sperm selenium concentration waits to be defined. Some evidence indicates that a metabolic defect in a selenium incorporation into sperm cells may be associated with human infertility. No human data relating selenium to female infertility were found.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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