Author(s): Whitacre ME, Combs GF Jr, Combs SB, Parker RS
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Abstract Studies were conducted to determine the relationship between dietary vitamin E (VE) and the development of nutritional pancreatic atrophy (NPA) in selenium (Se)-deficient chicks. Selenium- and VE-depleted chicks reared on a low Se, amino acid-based diet containing 100 IU VE (as all-rac-alpha-tocopheryl acetate) per kilogram were found to have exceedingly low pancreatic activities of Se-dependent glutathione peroxidase (SeGSHpx) at 8 d of age. Supplementation of the purified diet with 500 or 1,000 IU VE/kg prevented both NPA and the associated growth depression. Use of graded dietary VE levels showed that addition of at least 300 IU/kg was required to overcome the growth depression associated with severe Se deficiency. Although tissue alpha-tocopherol concentrations increased linearly with increasing dietary levels of VE, the response in pancreas was less than (about one-half of) those in liver and heart and, unlike the response in heart, was not affected by dietary Se level. That protection against NPA involved the antioxidant action of VE was suggested by results showing that NPA is promoted by high dietary levels of linoleic acid, that high VE levels correct membrane unsaturated fatty acid losses due to Se deficiency and that NPA is prevented by high levels of other antioxidants. It is suggested that the normally low activities of SeGSHpx and concentrations of alpha-tocopherol in the pancreas may predispose that organ to lesions due to oxidative stress under conditions of severe nutritional Se deficiency that results in further depletion of SeGSHpx. This situation may be overcome by feeding VE at 15-20-fold excesses over the levels normally regarded as nutritionally required.
This article was published in J Nutr
and referenced in Pancreatic Disorders & Therapy