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Ind Health. 2007 Jun;45(3):388-95.

Role of selenium in mercury intoxication in mice.

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Toxicokinetics Section, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow, India.


Studies were conducted to examine the effect of pre and post-treatment of selenium in mercury intoxication (20 micromole/ kg b.w. each given intraperitoneally) in mice in terms of lipid peroxidation (LPO), glutathione (GSH) content, activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), catalase (CAT) and mercury concentration in liver, kidney and brain. No significant alteration was observed in all the organs examined after mercury or selenium treatment in LPO and GSH but administration of selenium (pre and post) resulted in an increase in the level of LPO and GSH. The activity of SOD was depleted in liver and kidney while that of GPx was lowered in liver of mercury exposed animals. Selenium administration resulted in restoration of the depletion of these enzymatic activities. The activity of CAT in liver and brain was enhanced both in mercury and selenium treated animals. Administration of selenium significantly arrested enhanced CAT activity. Kidney showed the highest mercury concentration among the organs examined. Administration of selenium resulted in further enhancement of mercury concentration in the tissues. An increase in selenium level in liver was observed after mercury treatment, which was also restored by mercury selenium co-administration. Our results indicate that the prooxidant effect of selenium was greater by its pretreatment.

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