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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interaction of vitamin C and selenium supplementation in the modification of mammary carcinogenesis in rats.

The objectives of this study were a) to compare the efficacy of inorganic and organic selenium compounds in protecting against mammary tumorigenesis induced by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene [(DMBA); CAS: 57-97-6] in rats and b) to study the interaction of vitamin C with either selenite (inorganic) or seleno-DL-methionine (organic) in chemoprevention. Control Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a purified 5% corn oil diet containing 0.1 ppm selenium. Selenite or seleno-DL-methionine was added to the basal diet in concentrations of 2, 3, or 4 ppm starting 1 week after DMBA administration. The inhibitory response in mammary tumorigenesis with selenium supplementation was dose dependent. Both selenium compounds were found to be equally efficacious in prophylaxis, although at the 4-ppm level a slight reduction in growth was observed. In the second experiment, different concentrations of vitamin C (0.2, 0.5, and 1%) were tested. In general, there was no change with the two lower levels; but a slight, although insignificant, increase in tumor yield was detected in rats supplemented with 1% vitamin C in the diet. The interaction of 0.5% vitamin C with either selenite or seleno-DL-methionine (3 ppm) was studied in the third experiment. Results showed that the protective effect of selenite in tumorigenesis was nullified by vitamin C, whereas the chemopreventive action of seleno-DL-methionine was not affected. It is possible that selenite is reduced by vitamin C to elemental selenium and is therefore not available for uptake by tissues. This hypothesis was indirectly supported by tissue selenium measurements showing that 0.5 or 0.25% of vitamin C in the diet completely negated in blood, liver, and mammary gland the accumulation of selenium induced by 3 ppm of selenite supplementation. Lower levels of vitamin C (less than or equal to 0.1%) were found to have no effect on tissue selenium concentrations. Furthermore, the presence of 0.1% vitamin C in the diet no longer abolished the anticarcinogenic effect of selenite. This study suggests that high levels of vitamin C can interfere with the accumulation of tissue selenium and that an increased titer of this trace element in cells is essential for retarding tumor development.[1]


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