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J Nutr Biochem. 2006 Aug;17(8):548-60. Epub 2005 Nov 9.

Compendium of the antidiabetic effects of supranutritional selenate doses. In vivo and in vitro investigations with type II diabetic db/db mice.

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Institute of Animal Nutrition and Nutritional Physiology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, D-35392 Giessen, Germany.


In recent years, a number of investigations on the antidiabetic effects of supranutritional selenate doses have been carried out. Selenate (selenium oxidation state +VI) was shown to possess regulatory effects on glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and fatty acid metabolism, metabolic pathways which are disturbed in diabetic disorders. An enhanced phosphorylation of single components of the insulin signalling pathway could be shown to be one molecular mechanism responsible for the insulinomimetic properties of selenate. In type II diabetic animals, a reduction of insulin resistance could be shown as an outcome of selenate treatment. The present study with db/db mice was performed to investigate the antidiabetic mechanisms of selenate in type II diabetic animals. Twenty-one young adult female db/db mice were randomly assigned to three experimental groups (selenium deficient=0Se, selenite-treated group=SeIV and selenate-treated group=SeVI) with seven animals each. Mice of all groups were fed a selenium-deficient diet for 8 weeks. The animals of the groups SeIV and SeVI were supplemented with increasing amounts of sodium selenite or sodium selenate up to 35% of the LD50 in week 8 in addition to the diet by tube feeding. Selenate treatment reduced insulin resistance significantly and reduced the activity of liver cytosolic protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) as negative regulators of insulin signalling by about 50%. In an in vitro inhibition test selenate (oxidation state +VI) per se did not inhibit PTP activity. In this test, however, selenium compounds of the oxidation state +IV were found to be the actual inhibitors of PTP activity. Selenate administration in vivo further led to characteristic changes in the selenium-dependent redox system, which could be mimicked in an in vitro assay and provided further evidence for the intermediary formation of SeIV metabolites. The expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), another important factor in the context of insulin resistance and lipid metabolism, was significantly increased by selenate application. In particular, liver gluconeogenesis and lipid metabolism were influenced strongly by selenate treatment. In conclusion, our results showed that supranutritional selenate doses influenced two important mechanisms involved in insulin-resistant diabetes, namely, PTPs and PPARgamma, which, in turn, can be assumed as being responsible for the changes in intermediary metabolism, e.g., gluconeogenesis and lipid metabolism. The initiation of these mechanisms thereby seems to be coupled to the intermediary formation of the selenium oxidation state +IV (selenite state) from selenate.

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