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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Dec;144(1-3):1358-69. doi: 10.1007/s12011-011-9057-2. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Metabolism of L-selenomethionine and selenite by probiotic bacteria: in vitro and in vivo studies.

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School of Pharmacy, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, 9054, New Zealand.


Since selenium supplements have been shown to undergo biotransformation in the gut, probiotic treatment in combination with selenium supplements may change selenium disposition. We investigated the metabolism of L-selenomethionine (SeMet) and selenite by probiotic bacteria in vitro and the disposition of selenium after probiotic treatment followed by oral dosing with SeMet and selenite in rats. When SeMet was incubated anaerobically with individual antibiotic-resistant probiotic strains (Streptococcus salivarius K12, Lactobacillus rhamnosus 67B, Lactobacillus acidophilus L10, and Bifidobacterium lactis LAFTI® B94) at 37°C for 24 h, 11-18% was metabolized with 44-80% of SeMet lost being converted to dimethyldiselenide (DMDSe) and dimethylselenide (DMSe). In similar incubations with selenite, metabolism was more extensive (26-100%) particularly by the lactobacilli with 0-4.8% of selenite lost being converted to DMSe and DMDSe accompanied by the formation of elemental selenium. Four groups of rats (n = 5/group) received a single oral dose of either SeMet or selenite (2 mg selenium/kg) at the time of the last dose of a probiotic mixture or its vehicle (lyoprotectant mixture used to maintain cell viability) administered every 12 h for 3 days. Another three groups of rats (n = 3/group) received a single oral dose of saline or SeMet or selenite at the same dose (untreated rats). Serum selenium concentrations over the subsequent 24 h were not significantly different between probiotic and vehicle treated rats but appeared to be more sustained (SeMet) or higher (selenite) than in the corresponding groups of untreated rats. Probiotic treated rats given SeMet also had selenium concentrations at 24 h that were significantly higher in liver and lower in kidney than untreated rats given SeMet. Thus, treatment with probiotics followed by SeMet significantly affects tissue levels of selenium.

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