In pigs, little information is available on the importance of an adequate antioxidant status for optimal ovulation both in terms of quantity and quality. In the present study, it was hypothesized that there would be a transient lack of metabolically available antioxidants during the preovulatory phase of the estrous cycle in gilts, which could lead to a suboptimal quality of ovulation and eventually of embryos. Because of that, antioxidants from dietary selenium (Se) during the preovulatory phase of the estrous cycle could be beneficial. Therefore, this project aimed to determine the effect of Se as inorganic Na-selenite (MSe) or organic Se-yeast (OSe) on antioxidant status, hormonal profile, reproductive performance, and embryo development in first-parity gilts. Forty-nine gilts were allocated to 1 of the 3 dietary treatments starting at first pubertal estrus and lasting up to 30 d after artificial insemination (AI): control [CONT: basal diet (Se = 0.2 mg/kg) without added Se; n = 16], MSe (CONT 0.3 mg/kg of MSe; n = 16), and OSe (CONT 0.3 mg/kg of OSe; n = 17). Blood was collected from all gilts on the day after each onset of estrus and on d 30 after AI. Blood was also collected daily from d −4 to d 4 of the third onset of estrus (d 0) in 8 CONT, 9 MSe, and 8 OSe cannulated gilts. Gilts had received, after d 14 and 15 of their third estrus, a hormonal challenge to induce super-ovulation. At slaughter, embryos and corpora lutea (CL) were weighed and measured.
Blood Se was less (P < 0.01) in CONT than in Se gilts and greater in OSe than in MSe (P < 0.01) from the first estrus until d 30 of gestation. At the same time, blood Se-dependent glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) decreased for CONT gilts, whereas it increased for both Se groups. The increase was greater in MSe than in OSe gilts (treatment × time, P = 0.02). Plasma 3,3’,5-triiodothyronine and thyroxine concentrations for MSe tended to be less than for OSe gilts (P < 0.06). In cannulated gilts, plasma FSH tended to change among treatments (treatment × time, P = 0.06), and plasma estradiol-17β (E2) was less (P = 0.01) for MSe than for OSe. There was no treatment effect on mean litter size or embryonic antioxidant status. The Se content of individual embryos was greater for Se-treated than for CONT gilts (P = 0.03), and Se content of individual embryos and total litter was greater for OSe than for MSe gilts (P < 0.01). The length, weight, and protein content of embryos were greater in OSe than in MSe gilts (P < 0.05). There was no treatment effect on weight, length, Se content, and ferric reducing antioxidant power of CL, but GSH-Px in CL was greater for Se than for CONT gilts (P = 0.02).
In summary, the Se status response of gilts to dietary Se was affected by both the quantity and the source of Se dietary supplements. Moreover, the uterine transfer of Se to embryos was improved with OSe as compared with MSe, and this was concomitant with an enhanced development of embryos.
ME Fortier, I Audet, A Giguere, JP Laforest, JF Bilodeau, H Quesnel and JJ Matte. Effect of dietary organic and inorganic selenium on antioxidant status, embryo development, and reproductive performance in hyperovulatory first-parity gilts . 2012. Journal of Animal Science, 90: 231-240. http://dx.doi.org/10.2527/jas.2010-3340.