Selenium protects reproductive system and foetus development in a rat model of gestational lead exposure.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Feb ;20(4):773-80. PMID: 26957284
OBJECTIVE: Lead is a common environmental contaminant. Lead accumulation in the body is especially dangerous for pregnant women and newborns. Selenium is a trace element which may rectify the damaging effects of lead. Here we tested potential protective effects of selenium against gestational lead exposure.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Pregnant SD rats were exposed to 200 mg/L of lead acetate (given with water), with or without sodium selenite supplementation (2-8 mg/kg/day via intragastric administration). Pregnant rats not exposed to lead or selenium served as control animals. The outcomes in pregnant rats were serum lead and selenium levels, reproductive hormone (follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, oestradiol, progesterone) levels, and uterine and ovarian morphological changes. The outcomes in the offspring were sex differentiation, survival rates (day 21 after birth), weight (days 0-35 after birth), weight of reproductive organs, and puberty onset (foreskin separation or vaginal opening).
RESULTS: Selenium supplementation dose-dependently decreased serum lead levels, rectified reproductive hormone levels, and attenuated reproductive morphological changes caused by lead exposure. Lead exposure did not affect sex differentiation, but significantly (p<0.05 vs. control animals) decreased the offspring weight on days 0-28 and the weight of their reproductive organs. Furthermore, lead exposure delayed the onset of puberty. These pathological changes were dose-dependently rectified or attenuated by selenium supplementation.
CONCLUSIONS: Gestational lead exposure causes damages to the reproductive system of pregnant rats, and negatively modulates growth and reproductive system development of the offspring. These adverse effects are rectified or attenuated by selenium supplementation.