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Biochem Cell Biol. 2005 Apr;83(2):196-211.

Differential effects of selenite and selenate on human melanocytes, keratinocytes, and melanoma cells.

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Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.


Among the substances that attracted the attention of oncologists in recent years are selenium-containing compounds, both inorganic and organic. Several epidemiological studies have shown an inverse correlation between selenium intake and cancer incidence. In the experiments reported here, we compared the effects of 2 inorganic selenium-containing salts that differed in the level of selenium oxidation, selenite IV and selenate VI. We tested the effects of these 2 compounds on cell survival and growth, cell cycle processing, cell morphology, cytoskeleton, and lipid peroxidation in 3 human skin cell types: normal keratinocytes, melanocytes, and human melanoma cell line HTB140. The different effects of selenite and selenate on the viability, growth, and morphology of normal cells and tumor cells are reported and provide a base for future research and treatment of some neoplastic diseases. The attention is paid to cell apoptosis induced by selenite and not by selenate, and the effects of tested substances on thioredoxin reductase system are postulated.

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