, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 281-293

Exogenous selenium in the brain

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Summary

Transcardial perfusion or intraperitoneal injections with sodium selenite result in the creation of selenium bonds that can be visualized by physical development. The present paper describes how these catalytic bonds are made visible in the tissues by surrounding them with shells of metallic silver. Based on experiments with chelating agents, the possibility that selenium-metal bonds are the catalysts is discussed. In the brain, the selenium pattern is delicate and highly laminated, the grains of silver being orderly arranged corresponding with the neuropil morphology. The precipitate is most densely packed in cortical regions. The difference in staining intensity seen in different regions of the CNS reflects the density of selenium reactive terminals. The visualized selenium bonds are predominantly located within boutons, and examination in the electron microscope reveals accumulation in the presynaptic regions. In a few places precipitates can also be found in axons, but have not been observed in perikarya or dendrites. The only non-neuronal locations of selenium were sparsely scattered, astrocyte-like neuroglia, predominantly found in the cerebellum and the hypothalamus; infrequently a few blood vessels were also stained. Sections from kidney and liver are presented as examples of localizations outside the CNS of exogenous selenium.