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Structural changes in femoral bone tissue of rats after subchronic peroral exposure to selenium

Monika Martiniaková1, Ivana Boboňová1, Radoslav Omelka2, Birgit Grosskopf3*, Robert Stawarz4 and Róbert Toman5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Zoology and Anthropology, Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra, 949 74, Slovakia

2 Department of Botany and Genetics, Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra, 949 74, Slovakia

3 Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Georg-August University, Göttingen, 37 073, Germany

4 Institute of Biology, Krakow Pedagogical University, Krakow, 31 054, Poland

5 Department of Veterinary Sciences, Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra, 949 76, Slovakia

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Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2013, 55:8  doi:10.1186/1751-0147-55-8

Published: 1 February 2013



The role of selenium (Se) on bone microarchitecture is still poorly understood. The present study aims to investigate the macroscopic and microscopic structures of femoral bone tissue in adult male rats after subchronic peroral administration of Se.


Twenty one-month-old male Wistar rats were randomly divided into two experimental groups. In the first group (Se group) young males were exposed to 5 mg Na2SeO3/L in drinking water, for 90 days. Ten one-month-old males without Se administration served as a control group. At the end of the experiment, macroscopic and microscopic structures of the femurs were analysed using analytical scales, sliding instrument, and polarized light microscopy.


The body weight, femoral length and cortical bone thickness were significantly decreased in Se group rats. These rats also displayed different microstructure in the middle part of the femur, both in medial and lateral views, where vascular canals expanded into the central area of the bone while, in control rats, these canals occurred only near the endosteal surfaces. Additionally, a smaller number of primary and secondary osteons was identified in Se group rats. Histomorphometric analyses revealed significant increases for area, perimeter, maximum and minimum diameters of primary osteons’ vascular canals but significant reductions for all measured variables of Haversian canals and secondary osteons.


Se negatively affected the macroscopic and microscopic structures of femoral bone tissue in adult male rats. The results contribute to the knowledge on damaging impact of Se on bone.