The effect of vitamin E or selenium on the oxidant-antioxidant balance in rats

M. G. Doni, A. Falanga, F. Delaini, E. Vicenzi, M. Tomasiak, M. B. Donati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vitamin E and selenium are two components which contribute to the antioxidant potential of plasma and tissues. In the present study we aimed to define the type of tissue toxicity deriving from chronic deficiency of either vitamin E or selenium and to evaluate the reliability of peripheral markers of tissue toxicity in these conditions. We studied rats fed a vitamin E or selenium-deficient diet for 3 or 7 months and a selenium-supplemented diet. The effectiveness of the dietary treatment was confirmed by measuring vitamin E and selenium in plasma. Heart and kidney malondialdehyde (MDA), a typical product of lipid peroxidation, was significantly increased after the 3-month diet in both vitamin E- and selenium-deficient rats. The iron-binding capacity of plasma, an activity ascribed to plasma transferrin, was reduced in selenium-deficient and increased in selenium-supplemented animals. In red cells globular resistance (resistance to osmotic haemolysis) was low in vitamin E- and selenium-deficient, but high in selenium-supplemented animals. Glutathione peroxidase was also increased in selenium-supplemented rats. Platelet count did not differ from controls in any of the three conditions studied. Platelet MDA formation induced by arachidonic acid was raised in both selenium-deficient and, particularly, vitamin E-deficient groups. This can be regarded as a peripheral marker of reduced antioxidant defence at tissue level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Experimental Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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