Effect of grazing pasture with a low selenium content on the concentrations of triiodothyronine and thyroxine in serum, and GSH-Px activity in erythrocytes in cows in Chile
- AIM: To determine the effect of grazing pasture that had a low selenium (Se) concentration on serum concentrations of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), and erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity in dairy cows. METHODS: Forty pregnant Friesian cows were grazed on pasture that contained 0.03-0.04 ppm Se on a dry matter (DM) basis. Two months before parturition, 20 cows were randomly selected and treated with 1 mg Se/kg bodyweight subcutaneously, as barium selenate (Group Se-S). The other group (Se-D) was not supplemented. Blood samples were taken before supplementation (-60 days) and 30, 60, 90, 180 and 270 days after parturition, for determination of concentrations of T3 and T4 in serum, and GSH-Px activity in erythrocytes. RESULTS: Erythrocyte GSH-Px activity in the Se-D group was <60 U/g haemoglobin (Hb) throughout the experiment. Supplementation increased (p<0.05) activities to >130 U/g Hb throughout lactation. Mean serum concentrations of T4 in Se-D and Se-S cows increased from 23.7 (SEM 0.7) and 23.4 (SEM 0.8) nmol/L, respectively, in the prepartum period to 69.6 (SEM 0.1) and 67.6 (SEM 0.2) nmol/L, respectively, at 180 days of lactation (p<0.01), and no effect of Se supplementation was evident. Serum concentrations of T3 in Se-D cows decreased (p<0.05) from 1.6 (SEM 0.1) nmol/L prepartum to 1.0 (SEM 0.2) nmol/L at the beginning of lactation, and remained lower (p<0.05) than those in the Se-S cows which did not decrease after calving and ranged from 1.9 (SEM 0.1) to 2.4 (SEM 0.2) nmol/L throughout lactation. CONCLUSIONS: Serum T3 concentrations decreased during early lactation in unsupplemented cows grazing pastures low in Se (0.03-0.04 ppm) and both serum T3 and erythrocyte GSH-Px activities were consistently lower throughout lactation compared with Se-supplemented cows. Se supplementation had no effect on serum T4 concentrations.