Sixteen groups of mice were fed diets containing different selenium species to compare their toxicity. Inorganic sodium selenate and sodium hydroselenite, elementary nanoSe, organic Sel-Plex, and Lacto-MicroSelenium were administered for 14 d at concentrations of 0.5, 5, and 50 ppm Se, equivalent to 0.5, 5, and 50 mg Se/kg food, corresponding to an estimated 4, 40, and 400 µg/kg body weight/d Se uptake, respectively. At the end of the treatment, body, liver, spleen, kidney, heart, and brain weights were measured, mice were subjected to necropsy, and histological examinations were performed on the liver. At lower Se doses (0.5 and 5 ppm) a moderate reduction was observed in the number of bone marrow and white blood cells and in granulocyte–macrophage colony-forming units (GM-CFUs) relative to the untreated control group of mice. A comparison of lowest toxic doses of sodium selenite in mice (0.5 ppm) and mallard (10 ppm) indicates that birds are more resistant to Se than rodents. In mice, a small but measurable weight loss was observed after 5 ppm selenate and LactoMicroSe treatment. The most significant changes took place after 50-ppm administration in body and spleen weight, hematology, and liver histology. Toxicity was more pronounced when inorganic Se was applied than after subacute application of Sel-Plex, nanoSe, or LactoMicroSe. To summarize the effects, the authors' 14-d murine subacute toxicity study showed that the toxicity of Se species decreased in the following order: selenate > selenite > nanoSe > Sel-Plex > LactoMicroSe. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012; 31: 2812–2820. © 2012 SETAC
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