Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 176, Issue 2, pp 407–415 | Cite as

Selenium Deficiency-Induced Apoptosis of Chick Embryonic Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells and Correlations with 25 Selenoproteins

  • Qingyu Wang
  • Jiaqiang Huang
  • Hao Zhang
  • Xingen Lei
  • Zhongyao Du
  • Chen Xiao
  • Silu Chen
  • Fazheng Ren


Selenium deficiency is the major cause of exudative diathesis in chicks. Subcutaneous hemorrhage is one of the typical symptoms of the disease. However, the reason for the occurrence of blood exudation remains unknown. In the present study, the vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) were isolated from 17-day-old broiler chick embryos. Cell viability, cell apoptosis, and intracellular reactive oxygen species level under different concentrations of selenium (0–0.9 μM) were investigated. The mRNA expression levels of 25 selenoproteins and apoptosis-related genes (p53, CytC, Caspase-3, Caspase-8, Bcl-2, and Bax) were also measured. Selenium deficiency significantly decreased cell viability and increased cell apoptosis (p < 0.05). Supplementation with selenium could alleviate these changes. In general, at all levels of selenium addition, Gpx1, Gpx3, Gpx4, SepW1, and Sep15 mRNAs were all highly expressed in VSMCs, whereas Gpx2, Dio1, SepN1, SelO, and SelPb were at lower levels. There was a high correlation between Gpx2, Gpx3, Gpx4, Dio1, Txnrd1, Txnrd2, and Txnrd3 gene expression. Additionally, Gpx3, Gpx4, Dio1, Txnrd1, Txnrd2, Txnrd3, SelS, and SelPb showed a strong negative correlation with pro-apoptotic gene Caspase-3 as well as a strong positive correlation with anti-apoptotic gene Bcl-2, especially SelI (r = 0.913 and r = 0.929, p < 0.01). These results suggest that selenium deficiency could induce VSMC apoptosis, and several selenoproteins may be involved in the development of apoptosis. Our findings provide information on the molecular mechanism of vascular injury by selenium deficiency.


Exudative diathesis Selenium deficiency Selenoproteins Vascular smooth muscle Cell apoptosis Chicks 



This study was funded by Chinese Natural Science Foundation: the Major International (Regional) Joint Research Program of China (No. 31320103920).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study followed all applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice.

Supplementary material

12011_2016_823_MOESM1_ESM.doc (80 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 79 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qingyu Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiaqiang Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hao Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xingen Lei
    • 1
    • 3
  • Zhongyao Du
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chen Xiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Silu Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fazheng Ren
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Food Nutrition and Human Health, College of Food Science & Nutritional EngineeringChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Beijing Laboratory for Food Quality and Safety, and Key Laboratory of Functional Dairy, College of Food Science and Nutritional EngineeringChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Animal ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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