Metabolic pathway for selenium in the body: speciation by HPLC-ICP MS with enriched Se.Food Addit Contam. 2002 Oct; 19(10):974-83.FA
Selenium (Se) is an ultramicro essential nutrient and both inorganic (selenite and selenate) and organic (selenocysteine and selenomethionine) forms of Se can be used as nutritional sources. Metabolic pathways for Se in the body were studied for selenite and selenate, with the use of enriched 82Se, by speciation with separation by gel filtration HPLC and detection by element-specific mass spectrometry with ionization with inductively coupled argon plasma (HPLC-ICP MS). The concentrations of 82Se in organs and body fluids and the distributions of their constituents depending on the dose and time after the intravenous administration of 82Se-selenite and -selenate to rats were determined. Selenite was taken up by red blood cells within several minutes, reduced to selenide by glutathione, and then transported to the plasma, bound selectively to albumin and transferred to the liver. Contrary to selenite, intact selenate was either taken up directly by the liver or excreted into the urine. The 82Se of selenite origin and that of selenate origin were detected in the forms of the two Se peak materials in the liver, A and B. The former one was methylated to the latter in vivo and in vitro. The latter one was identical with the major urinary metabolite and it was identified as Se-methyl-N-acetyl-selenohexosamine (selenosugar). The chemical species-specific metabolic pathway for Se was explained by the metabolic regulation through selenide as the assumed common intermediate for the inorganic and organic Se sources and as the checkpoint metabolite between utilization for the selenoprotein synthesis and methylation for the excretion of Se.