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

Toxicity of selenium compounds to alveolar macrophages.

Selenium compounds released into urban atmospheres as a result of fossil fuel combustion may pose an inhalation hazard to people. Two chemical forms of selenium produced during coal combustion and present in combustion effluent are selenious acid. H2SeO3, and elemental selenium, Se. In an attempt to determine the toxicity of selenium compounds relative to other trace elements, the cytotoxicity of H2SeO3 and Se to rabbit alveolar macrophages in vitro was investigated. Macrophages were obtained by lung lavage and exposed in tissue culture after 20 h. Neither selenious acid nor elemental selenium caused cell lysis at concentrations which decreased total cell viability. Selenious acid was an order of magnitude more toxic then elemental selenium. Elemental selenium was similar in toxicity to environmental contaminants such as CdCl2 and V2O5. These in vitro cytotoxicity data can be used to predict the risk posed to people inhaling selenium compounds at levels found in urban atmospheres.[1]


  1. Toxicity of selenium compounds to alveolar macrophages. Medinsky, M.A., Cuddihy, R.G., Hill, J.O., McClellan, R.O. Toxicol. Lett. (1981) [Pubmed]
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