The present work was part of a project intended to evaluate whether organic selenium (Se) has the potential to protect against toxic effects exerted by cadmium (Cd). For this reason, 300 as-hatched, one-day-old broiler chickens were randomly allocated in four dietary treatments with five replicate pens per treatment. Chickens in T1 treatment, were offered a diet supplemented with 0.3 ppm Se (as Se-yeast), without added Cd; in T2 treatment, they were offered a diet with 0.3 ppm Se and 10 ppm Cd; in T3 treatment, they were offered a diet with 0.3 ppm Se and 100 ppm Cd; in T4 treatment, chickens were offered a diet supplemented with 3 ppm Se and 100 ppm Cd. Cadmium was added to the diets in T2, T3, and T4 as CdCl2
. On the fourth and sixth weeks, liver and breast samples were obtained from two broilers per replicate pen. Relative gene expression levels of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and 2 (SOD2), methionine sulfoxide reductase A (MSRA) and B3 (MSRB3), iodothyronine deiodinase 1 (DIO1), 2 (DIO2), and 3 (DIO3), glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX1) and 4 (GPX4), thioredoxin reductase 1 (TXNRD1) and 3 (TXNRD3), and metallothionein 3 (MT3) were analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR in liver, whereas the fatty-acid (FA) profile of breast muscle was determined by gas chromatography. Broilers supplemented with 0.3 ppm Se could tolerate low levels of Cd present in the diets, as there were no significant changes in the breast muscle FA profile, whereas excess Cd led to decreased polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and in particular n
-6 PUFA. Furthermore, treatments mainly affected the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of SOD2, TXNRD3, and MT3, while age affected CAT, MSRB3, DIO2, DIO3, GPX4, TXNRD1, and MT3. In conclusion, dietary Se may help against the negative effects of Cd, but cannot be effective when Cd is present at excessive amounts in the diet.
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