The effect of selenium on the biliary excretion and organ distribution of mercury in the rat after exposure to methyl mercuric chloride.

Abstract

The influence of selenium compounds on the biliary excretion and the organ distribution of mercury after injection of methyl mercuric chloride (4 mumol/kg) have been tested. Selenite, seleno-di-N-acetylglycine and seleno-methionine strongly inhibited the biliary excretion of mercury. Selenite even in a molar dose of 1/40 of the methyl mercury dose inhibited the biliary excretion of mercury. The less toxic seleno-di-N-acetylglycine was needed in larger molar doses and did not act as rapidly as selenite. Biliary excreted methyl mercury is known to be partly reabsorbed in the gut. Subsequently a part of it is deposited in the kidneys since drainage of the bile lowered the kidney content of mercury. Rats given selenium compounds in combination with bile drainage showed further reduction of the kidney mercury content than bile duct drainage alone. Thus the demonstrated lowering effect of selenium compounds on the kidney mercury content cannot be completely explained by an inhibition of biliary excretion of mercury. The mercury concentration in the brain was increased by the selenium compounds; the effect being dependent of the selenium dose reaching a maximum at an equimolar selenite--to methyl mercury dose ratio. The mechanisms by which selenium influences the methyl mercury kinetics are discussed.

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@article{Alexander1979TheEO, title={The effect of selenium on the biliary excretion and organ distribution of mercury in the rat after exposure to methyl mercuric chloride.}, author={James Alexander and Tor Norseth}, journal={Acta pharmacologica et toxicologica}, year={1979}, volume={44 3}, pages={168-76} }