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J Nutr. 1990 Feb;120(2):207-12.

Comparative toxicity and tissue retention of selenium in methionine-deficient rats fed sodium selenate or L-selenomethionine.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705.


Selenium (Se) toxicity is known to be affected by level of intake of the mineral, but there are conflicting reports on the relative toxicities of the various chemical forms of Se. We monitored Se toxicity in rats fed Torula yeast-based diets containing 0.1, 0.5 or 2.5 micrograms Se/g of diet as either sodium selenate (Na2SeO4) or L-selenomethionine (SeMet). Half the diets were supplemented to contain adequate dietary methionine (Met). Weights were monitored weekly for 6 (Met-adequate) or 7 (Met-deficient) wk, at which time the rats were killed. There were no significant differences in final weight among Met-adequate rats, regardless of level or form of dietary Se. Methionine-deficient rats all gained significantly less weight than their Met-adequate counterparts. Selenosis was most severe in the Met-deficient rats fed 2.5 micrograms Se/g of diet as Na2SeO4, as indicated by significantly impaired weight gains. Nonetheless, Se retention in serum, heart, brain, bone, testes, colon, skin, lungs and pancreas was greater in rats fed SeMet than in those fed Na2SeO4, and Met deficiency further intensified this trend. The kidney was the only organ in which Se levels were markedly higher in the severely poisoned Met-deficient rats fed Na2SeO4. Further research is needed to determine whether elevated kidney Se levels are related to the greater toxicity observed in the Met-deficient rats fed Na2SeO4.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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