Blood and hair as non-invasive trace element biological indicators in growing rabbits




biological indicators, blood, hair, organic selenium, rabbits, trace elements


The suitability of blood and hair as non-invasive tools to monitor trace element contents was studied in 48 Hyla male growing rabbits. Three diets with increasing organic selenium (Se) addition (0.1, 0.5 and 2.5 mg/kg) were used to induce alterations in the concentrations of trace elements vs. an unsupplemented diet. In blood, a linear decrease in Co (P<0.001), Cu (P<0.001), Mn (P<0.05), Zn (P<0.05), Sb (P<0.001), As (P<0.001), Cr (P<0.001), Mo (P<0.001), Ni (P<0.001) and Cd (P<0.001) concentrations with increasing dietary Se was observed. In hair, a cubic effect of dietary Se on Co (P<0.01), Cu (P<0.05), Mn (P<0.001), Pb (P<0.05), Mo (P<0.05) and Cd (P<0.05) concentrations was found, while As, Cr and Ni concentrations decreased linearly (P<0.01, P<0.01 and P<0.001, respectively) with increasing dietary Se. Selenium was negatively correlated to Sb, As, Cr, Mo, Ni and Cd, (P<0.001) in blood, and to As (P<0.05), Cr, Ni (P<0.01) and Pb (P<0.05) in hair. The contents of Se, As, Cr and Ni in blood were highly correlated (P<0.001) to those in hair. Blood appeared to be more sensitive than hair in detecting small changes in the trace element profile in rabbits, as was indicated by the discriminant analysis. In conclusion, blood and hair can be suitable biological indicators of essential, toxic and potentially toxic trace element status in rabbits, particularly when used complementarily.


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Author Biographies

George Papadomichelakis, Agricultural University of Athens

Department of Nutritional Physiology and Feeding, Faculty of Animal Science and Aquaculture

Assistant Professor

Athanasios C Pappas, Agricultural University of Athens

Department of Nutritional Physiology and Feeding, Faculty of Animal Science and Aquaculture

Assistant Professor

Evangelos Zoidis, Agricultural University of Athens

Department of Nutritional Physiology and Feeding, Faculty of Animal Science and Aquaculture

Assistant Professor

Georgios Danezis, Agricultural University of Athens

Chemistry Laboratory

Post-Doc researcher

Konstantinos A Georgiou, Agricultural University of Athens

Chemistry Laboratory


Konstantinos Fegeros, Agricultural University of Athens

Department of Nutritional Physiology and Feeding, Faculty of Animal Science and Aquaculture

Professor, Head of the Departament


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