The objective was to determine the concentration of total selenium (Se) and the proportion of total Se comprised as selenomethionine (SeMet) and selenocysteine (SeCys) in post mortem tissues of lambs in the 6 weeks period following the withdrawal of a diet containing high-dose selenised yeast (HSY), derived from a specific strain of Saccharomyces cerevisae CNCM (Collection Nationale de Culture de Micro-organism) I-3060. Thirty Texel × Suffolk lambs used in this study had previously received diets (91 days) containing either HSY (6.30 mg Se per kg dry matter (DM)) or an unsupplemented control (C; 0.13 mg Se per kg DM). Following the period of supplementation, all lambs were then offered a complete pelleted diet, without additional Se (0.15 mg Se per kg DM), for 42 days. At enrolment and 21 and 42 days later, five lambs from each treatment were blood sampled, euthanased and samples of heart, liver, kidney and skeletal muscle (longissimus dorsi and psoas major) tissue were retained. Total Se concentration in whole blood and tissues was significantly (P < 0.001) higher in HSY lambs at all time points that had previously received long-term exposure to high dietary concentrations of SY. The distribution of total Se and the proportions of total Se comprised as SeMet and SeCys differed between tissues, treatment and time points. Total Se was greatest in HSY liver and kidney (22.64 and 18.96 mg Se per kg DM, respectively) and SeCys comprised the greatest proportion of total Se. Conversely, cardiac and skeletal muscle (longissimus dorsi and psoas major) tissues had lower total Se concentration (10.80, 7.02 and 7.82 mg Se per kg DM, respectively) and SeMet was the predominant selenised amino acid. Rates of Se clearance in HSY liver (307 μg Se per day) and kidney (238 μg Se per day) were higher compared with HSY cardiac tissue (120 μg Se per day) and skeletal muscle (20 μg Se per day). In conclusion, differences in Se clearance rates were different between tissue types, reflecting the relative metabolic activity of each tissue, and appear to be dependent on the proportions of total Se comprised as either SeMet or SeCys.
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