Comparison of maternal blood and fetal liver selenium concentrations in cattle in California.

J. H. Kirk, R. L. Terra, Ian Gardner, J. C. Wright, James Case, John Maas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Selenium concentration was measured in paired maternal blood samples and fetal liver specimens collected at a San Joaquin County, Calif, slaughterhouse (beef = 19, dairy = 54) and from bovine aborted fetuses submitted to the California Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System (CVDLS; beef = 20, dairy = 20). Of the slaughterhouse samples and specimens, dairy maternal blood selenium concentration was significantly (P < 0.001) higher (mean +/- SD; 0.22 +/- 0.056 microgram/ml) than that for beef breeds (0.137 +/- 0.082 microgram/ml). The CVDLS mean maternal blood selenium concentration for the dairy-breed samples (0.192 +/- 0.028 microgram/ml) was similar to that for the slaughterhouse dairy-breed samples, but was greater than that for the slaughterhouse beef-breed samples. Slaughterhouse mean fetal liver selenium content also was higher (P < 0.001) for the dairy breeds (0.777 +/- 0.408 microgram/g), compared with the beef breeds (0.443 +/- 0.038 microgram/g). Mean fetal liver selenium content for slaughterhouse specimens was higher (P < 0.002) than that for the CVDLS specimens (beef, 0.244 +/- 0.149 microgram/g; dairy, 0.390 +/- 0.165 microgram/g). At the CVDLS, dairy fetal liver content was greater (P < 0.001) than that for beef breeds. Mean ratio of fetal liver selenium content to maternal blood selenium concentration was 3.53 +/- 1.89 for dairy breeds at the slaughterhouse (liver-to-blood correlation [r] = 0.38), and was 2.11 +/- 1.00 for dairy breeds at the CVDLS (r = 0.31) and 3.43 +/- 1.50 for beef breeds (r = 0.58). Both slaughterhouse breed ratios were significantly (P < 0.002) greater than the CVDLS dairy-breed ratio. On the basis of these results, breed and source location should be taken into account when interpreting selenium values. Fetal liver selenium content should only be used as a screening test and combined with whole blood selenium concentration from clinically normal herdmates to evaluate herd selenium status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1460-1464
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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