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J Neurochem. 2009 Jul;110(1):133-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06109.x. Epub 2009 Apr 21.

The brain selenoproteome: priorities in the hierarchy and different levels of selenium homeostasis in the brain of selenium-deficient rats.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Trace Element Research in the Life Sciences, Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy, Berlin, Germany.


The application of radionuclides for the localization of essential trace elements in vivo and the characterization of their binding proteins is a story of intermittently made improvements of the techniques used for their detection. In this study we present the use of neutron activation analysis and different autoradiographic imaging methods including real-time digital autoradiography to reveal new insights in the hierarchy of selenium homeostasis. Selenoproteins containing the essential trace element selenium play important roles in the CNS. Although the CNS does not show the highest selenium concentration in the case of selenium-sufficient supply in comparison with other organs, it shows a high priority for selenium uptake and retention in the case of dietary selenium deficiency. To characterize the hierarchy of selenium supply in the brain, in vivo radiotracer labeling with (75)Se in rats with different selenium status was combined with autoradiographic detection of (75)Se in brain tissue sections and (75)Se-labeled selenoproteins after protein separation by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. This study demonstrates significant differences in the uptake of (75)Se into the brain of rats with different selenium status. A brain region-specific uptake pattern of the radiotracer (75)Se in selenium-deficient rats could be revealed and the CSF was identified as a key part of the brain selenium homeostasis.

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