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Toxicity and bioavailability of different selenium metabolites


Se is an essentially element and traces of this element is an integral component of our diet. On the other hand, Se is also toxic, and the toxic levels are relatively close to optimum nutritional levels (less than a factor of ten). Thus, Se supplementation is not an easy task and requires an individualized approach.  To make things even more complicated, the either adverse or beneficial health effects strongly depend on the ingested Se species. In  order to understand the metabolic transformation of Se species, the toxicity of the metabolites is of fundamental interest.

The new study:
A mixed German/Austrian reserch group investigated for the first time the bioavailability and cytotoxicity of the urinary metabolites methyl-2-acetamido-2-deoxy-1-seleno-ß-D-galactopyranoside (selenosugar 1) and trimethylselenonium ion (TMSe) in comparison to the food relevant species methylselenocysteine (MeSeCys), selenomethionine (SeMet) and selenite in human urothelial, astrocytoma and hepatoma cells. While the food relevant species exerted substantial cytotoxicity, the metabolites did not in any of the investigated cell line. This supports their importance for Se detoxification. Interestingly, there was no correlation between the potencies of the respective toxic effects and the measured cellular Se concentrations, highlighting the importance for the Se speciation for toxicity.

The cited study:

Talke Anu Marschall, Julia Bornhorst, Doris Kuehnelt, Tanja Schwerdtle, Differing cytotoxicity and bioavailability of selenite, methylselenocysteine, selenomethionine, selenosugar 1 and trimethylselenonium ion and their underlying metabolic transformations in human cells, Mol. Nutr. Food Res., (2016). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600422

Used analytical techniques (and instruments):

Agilent 8800 ICP-MS

Related studies (newest first):

J.K. Wrobel, R. Power, M. Toborek, Biological activity of selenium: Revisited. IUBMB Life, 68 (2016) 97–105. doi: 10.1002/iub.1466

T. Jäger, H. Drexler, T. Göen, Human metabolism and renal excretion of selenium compounds after oral ingestion of sodium selenite and selenized yeast dependent on the trimethylselenium ion (TMSe) status. Arch. Toxicol., 90/1 (2016) 149-158. doi: 10.1002/iub.1466

D. Kuehnelt, K. Engström, H. Skröder, S. Kokarnig, C. Schlebusch, M. Kippler, A. Alhamdow, B. Nermell, K. Francesconi, K. Broberg, M. Vahter, Selenium metabolism to the trimethylselenonium ion (TMSe) varies markedly because of polymorphisms in the indolethylamine. Am. Clin. Nutr. 2015, 102, 1406–15. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.114157

Sougat Misra, Mallory Boylan, Arun Selvam, Julian E. Spallholz, Mikael Björnstedt, Redox-Active Selenium Compounds—From Toxicity and Cell Death to Cancer Treatment, Nutrients, 7 (2015) 3536-3556; doi:10.3390/nu7053536

S. Kokarnig, A. Tsirigotaki, T. Wiesenhofer, V. Lackner, Concurrent quantitative HPLC-mass spectrometry profiling of small selenium species in human serum and urine after ingestion of selenium supplements. J. Trace Elem. Med. Biol. 2014, 29, 83–90. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2014.06.012

D.L. Hatfield, P.A. Tsuji, B.A. Carlson, V.N. Gladyshev, Selenium and selenocysteine: roles in cancer, health, and development. Trends Biochem. Sci., 39 (2014) 112–120. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2013.12.007

C.M. Weekley, H.H. Harris, Which form is that? The importance of selenium speciation and metabolism in the prevention and treatment of disease, Chem. Soc. Rev., 42/23 (2013)8870-94. doi: 10.1039/c3cs60272a.

Carolin S. Hoefig, Kostja Renko, Josef Köhrle, Marc Birringer, Lutz Schomburg, Comparison of different selenocompounds with respect to nutritional value vs. toxicity using liver cells in culture, J. Nutr. Biochem., 22 (2011) 945–955. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2010.08.006

D. Kuehnelt, N. Kienzl, P. Traar, N.H. Le, K.A. Francesconi, T. Oichi, Selenium metabolites in human urine after ingestion of selenite, L-selenomethionine, or DL-selenomethionine: a quantitative case study by HPLC/ICPMS. Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 383 (2005) 235–246. doi: 10.1007/s00216-005-0007-8

Patricla A. McAdam, Ph.D. and Orville A. Levander, Chronic toxicity and retention of dietary selenium fed to rats as D- or L-selenomethionine, selenite, or selenate,  Nutr. Res., 7/6 (1987) 601-610. doi:10.1016/S0271-5317(87)80053-2

O.E. Olson, Selenium Toxicity in Animals with Emphasis on Man. Int. J. Toxicol., 5 (1986) 45–70. doi: 10.3109/10915818609140736

I. S. Palmer, R. L. Arnold, C. W. Carlson, Toxicity of Various Selenium Derivatives to Chick Embryos, Poult. Sci., 52/5 (1973) 1841-1846. doi: 10.3382/ps.0521841

B.D. Obermeyer, I.S. Palmer, O.E. Olson, A.W. Halverson, Toxicity of trimethylselenonium chloride in the rat with and without arsenite. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 20 (1971) 135–146. doi:10.1016/0041-008X(71)90040-8

Related EVISA Resources

Brief summary: Speciation and Toxicity
Brief summary: ICP-MS: A versatile detection system for speciation analysis
Brief summary: LC-ICP-MS: The most often used hyphenated system for speciation analysis
Brief summary: ESI-MS: The tool for the identification of species
Link database: Toxicity of organic selenium species
Link database: Toxicity of inorganic selenium species
Link database: Human exposure from selenium in the diet
Link Page: All about food science
Link database: Selenium and Human health
Link database; Research projects related to selenium
Material database: Materials for Selenium speciation analysis

Related EVISA News (newest first)

July 21, 2015: Polish selenium supplements not always labeled accurately
December 17, 2014: Decreased risk of colorectal cancer linked with higher selenium status
April 14, 2014: Chemical speciation analysis for nutrition and food science 
July 14, 2013: EU approves new selenium compound for use as a nutritional supplement in animals
May 12, 2011: Review: Selenium doesn't prevent cancer
May 3, 2011: New reference materials for the characterisation of selenium-enriched food products
April 30, 2010: High Accumulation of Selenium in Wheat Grains
October 28, 2008: National Cancer Institute ends Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT
October 6, 2005: Selenomethionine shows promising results as a protective agent against Esophageal Cancer
August 2, 2005: New CRM for Selenomethionine in yeast developed by NRC Canada is now on the market

last time modified: July 22, 2020


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