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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Selenite biotransformation to volatile metabolites in an isolated hepatocyte model system.

The biotransformation of selenite to dimethylselenide was studied in an oxygenated hepatocyte model system. The concentrations of selenite used were 20-100 microM. A lag period of one hour or more, during which no net formation of selenide could be detected characterized the system. The maximal rate of volatilization was recorded during the second hour and was 0.13 nmoles/10(6) cells/min with 50 microM selenite. The rate then declined and volatilization eventually ceased. Two-thirds of the added amount of Se was lost within 4 hr. Oxidation of glutathione (GSH) by cumene hydroperoxide delayed volatilization. An inhibitor of gluconeogenesis, p-tert-butylbenzoic acid (3 microM) prevented volatilization. There were indications that GSSG reductase dependent metabolism was the only major metabolic pathway in hepatocytes under the conditions studied. During the lag period Se accumulated in cells, but was subsequently partially released during volatilization. The accumulation of Se was paralleled by an increase in oxygen uptake. The above mentioned inhibitors of volatilization prolonged the phase of accumulation. With 50 microM selenite the rate of accumulation was 0.06 nmoles/10(6) cells/min and maximally 30-35% of the added dose was retained in the cells. The results are compatible with the assumption that Se mainly accumulated as Se-glutathione complexes. The possibility that such complexes autooxidized and entered futile redox cycles during the lag period is discussed.[1]


  1. Selenite biotransformation to volatile metabolites in an isolated hepatocyte model system. Ståhl, A., Anundi, I., Högberg, J. Biochem. Pharmacol. (1984) [Pubmed]
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