Open Access Research

Sparing effects of selenium and ascorbic acid on vitamin C and E in guinea pig tissues

Jesse Bertinato1, Nick Hidiroglou1, Robert Peace1, Kevin A Cockell1, Keith D Trick1, Penny Jee1, Alex Giroux1, Réné Madère1, Giuseppe Bonacci1, Monica Iskandar1, Stephen Hayward2, Nicholas Giles2 and Mary R L'Abbé1*

Author affiliations

1 Nutrition Research Division, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Sir Frederick G. Banting Research Centre, Ottawa, ON, Canada

2 Bureau of Biostatistics and Computer Applications, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Sir Frederick G. Banting Research Centre, Ottawa, ON, Canada

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2007, 6:7  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-6-7

Published: 26 March 2007

Abstract

Background

Selenium (Se), vitamin C and vitamin E function as antioxidants within the body. In this study, we investigated the effects of reduced dietary Se and L-ascorbic acid (AA) on vitamin C and α-tocopherol (AT) status in guinea pig tissues.

Methods

Male Hartley guinea pigs were orally dosed with a marginal amount of AA and fed a diet deficient (Se-D/MC), marginal (Se-M/MC) or normal (Se-N/MC) in Se. An additional diet group (Se-N/NC) was fed normal Se and dosed with a normal amount of AA. Guinea pigs were killed after 5 or 12 weeks on the experimental diets at 24 and 48 hours post AA dosing.

Results

Liver Se-dependent glutathione peroxidase activity was decreased (P < 0.05) in guinea pigs fed Se or AA restricted diets. Plasma total glutathione concentrations were unaffected (P > 0.05) by reduction in dietary Se or AA. All tissues examined showed a decrease (P < 0.05) in AA content in Se-N/MC compared to Se-N/NC guinea pigs. Kidney, testis, muscle and spleen showed a decreasing trend (P < 0.05) in AA content with decreasing Se in the diet. Dehydroascorbic acid concentrations were decreased (P < 0.05) in several tissues with reduction in dietary Se (heart and spleen) or AA (liver, heart, kidney, muscle and spleen). At week 12, combined dietary restriction of Se and AA decreased AT concentrations in most tissues. In addition, restriction of Se (liver, heart and spleen) and AA (liver, kidney and spleen) separately also reduced AT in tissues.

Conclusion

Together, these data demonstrate sparing effects of Se and AA on vitamin C and AT in guinea pig tissues.