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

Effect of an inorganic and organic form of dietary selenium on the promotional stage of mammary carcinogenesis in the rat.

The relative effectiveness of either sodium selenite or selenomethionine in the inhibition of mammary carcinogenesis was studied in virgin female Sprague-Dawley rats. In one experiment, rats were given 50 mg of 1-methyl-1-nitrosourea per kg of body weight s.c. at 50 days of age. Beginning 7 days post-1-methyl-1-nitrosourea, they were assigned to a basal diet containing 0.1 ppm of selenium or basal diet supplemented to contain either 4, 5, or 6 ppm of selenium as sodium selenite or 5 or 6 ppm of selenium as selenomethionine. Selenium treatment was continued until termination of the study 135 days after 1-methyl-1-nitrosourea treatment. Sodium selenite, at the 5-ppm level, was the most effective chemopreventive agent. The highest level of selenomethionine (6 ppm) caused grossly apparent liver damage. No liver damage was noted in sodium selenite-treated rats. In a second experiment, rats were given 5 mg of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene at 50 days of age. Beginning 7 days after 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene treatment, rats were assigned randomly to the control group or to one of two selenium treatment groups receiving either 3.4 ppm of selenium as sodium selenite or 3.4 ppm as selenomethionine in their drinking water. Selenium supplementation was continued throughout the study until its termination at 111 days postcarcinogen . Sodium selenite significantly reduced cancer incidence and the average number of cancers per rat. Treatment with selenomethionine was less effective and caused severe liver damage. Although both sodium selenite and selenomethionine can inhibit some aspect of the postinitiation stage(s) of mammary carcinogenesis, selenium provided as sodium selenite was the more effective and less toxic of the two chemicals. Increasing the dose of sodium selenite above 5 ppm did not enhance the inhibitory activity of selenium.[1]


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