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Free Radic Biol Med. 2007 May 15;42(10):1524-33. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

Elemental selenium at nano size possesses lower toxicity without compromising the fundamental effect on selenoenzymes: comparison with selenomethionine in mice.

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University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230052, People's Republic of China.


Glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase are major selenoenzymes through which selenium exerts powerful antioxidant effects. Selenium also elicits pro-oxidant effects at toxic levels. The antioxidant and pro-oxidant effects, or bioavailability and toxicity, of selenium depend on its chemical form. Selenomethionine is considered to be the most appropriate supplemental form due to its excellent bioavailability and lower toxicity compared to various selenium compounds. The present studies reveal that, compared with selenomethionine, elemental selenium at nano size (Nano-Se) possesses equal efficacy in increasing the activities of glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase but has much lower toxicity as indicated by median lethal dose, acute liver injury, and short-term toxicity. Our results suggest that Nano-Se can serve as an antioxidant with reduced risk of selenium toxicity.

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