Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly targets the synovial membrane, cartilage and bone. It affects 1 % of the population and is associated with significant morbidity and increased mortality. Se is an essential trace element with antioxidant properties and the ability to modulate the immune responses. Selemax® is an inactive yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) enriched with organic Se. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of Selemax® administration in models of an antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) in C57BL/6 mice, and of an adjuvant-induced arthritis (AdIA) in Holtzman rats. As control, the animals were treated with the same inactivated yeast species that was not enriched for Se. In the AIA model, treatment with different doses of Selemax® (0·01, 0·1, 1 and 10 % added to food) significantly decreased the number of inflammatory cells recruited to the knee cavity, essentially by reducing the number of neutrophils. Levels of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-1β and chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1/keratinocyte chemoattractant (CXCL1/KC), were also reduced in the peri-articular tissue of mice treated with Selemax® at the tested dose (1 %). In the AdIA model in rats, Selemax® treatment decreased paw oedema and hypernociception. This reduction was associated with inhibition of the influx of proinflammatory cells. Therefore, treatment with Selemax® is associated with amelioration of several inflammatory and functional parameters in models of arthritis, suggesting that this Se-enriched yeast should be evaluated further in patients with RA.