Authors: Krittaphol W, McDowell A, Thomson CD, Mikov M, Fawcett JP
Citation: Biol Trace Elem Res 2011 Feb;139(2):188-96
PMID : 20229173, Journal: Biol Trace Elem Res, 139, 2
Date created: 2011-01-14
L-selenomethionine (SeMet) and sodium selenite are widely used selenium nutritional supplements with potential benefit in preventing cancer. However, supplementation is not without risks of toxicity if intake is too high. The aim of the present study was to investigate SeMet and selenite metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract with particular focus on the formation of the volatile selenium excretion products, dimethylselenide (DMSe) and dimethyldiselenide (DMDSe). Adult male Wistar rats (n = 5) were euthanized, their intestinal tracts removed and the contents of jejunum, ileum, caecum and colon used to prepare 10% suspensions in saline. SeMet and selenite (0.5-0.6 mM) were then incubated with these suspensions at 37°C for 3 h. Caecum and colon contents were the most metabolically active towards SeMet with 30% and 15% metabolized over 3 h. DMDSe was the only volatile selenium metabolite detected accounting for 8.7 ± 1.3% of the selenium lost in caecum contents. Selenite was completely metabolized by caecum contents and 73% by colon contents under the same conditions forming DMSe (5.7 ± 0.9% of the selenium lost in caecum) and a precipitate of red amorphous elemental selenium. Based on previous literature and these results, we conclude that the gut microbiota contributes to the excretion of excess selenium through the production of methylated selenium compounds and elemental selenium.