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  • Author or Editor: Carmen Fuentealba x
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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the effects of chronic exposure to excess dietary copper (Cu) on liver specimens from rats and the effects of dietary selenium (Se) supplementation in experimental Cu toxicosis.

Animals—60 weanling male Fischer 344 rats.

Procedure—Rats were randomly assigned to 4 groups of 15 rats each and fed 1 of the following 4 diets: high Cu (500 μg/g)/adequate Se (0.2 μg/g); high Cu (500 μg/g)/supplemented Se (2 μg/g); adequate Cu (18 μg/g)/adequate Se (0.2 μg/g); or, adequate Cu (18 μg/g)/supplemented Se (2 μg/g). Five rats per group were euthanatized after 3, 6, and 12 months, and liver specimens were obtained for histologic examination, histochemistry, metal analysis by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, measurement of glutathione peroxidase activity, and assessment of lipid peroxidation, using quantification of malondialdehyde (MDA) by the thiobarbituric acid reaction.

Results—Hepatic Cu concentration was significantly higher in rats fed high Cu diets (range, 9 to 18 μg/g of tissue [wet weight]), compared with rats receiving adequate Cu diets (4.0 to 5.7 μg/g of tissue). Rats fed high-Cu diets for 3, 6, and 12 months had mild multifocal hepatitis often surrounding necrotic foci. However, an increase in hepatic MDA content, indicative of lipid peroxidation, was not detected in these rats. Development of morphologic changes was not prevented by use of dietary Se supplementation.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Long-term exposure to excess dietary Cu caused mild hepatic lesions in Fischer 344 rats. Dietary Se supplementation did not prevent hepatic damage in rats with Cu toxicosis. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1423–1427)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research