Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 281–297

Effects of excess selenomethionine on selenium status indicators in pregnant long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)


  • Wayne Chris Hawkes
    • Western Human Nutrition Research CenterUSDA-ARS
  • Calvin C. Willhite
    • Department of Health Services, State of California
  • Kimberly A. Craig
    • Western Human Nutrition Research CenterUSDA-ARS
  • Stanley T. Omaye
    • Letterman Army Institute of Research
  • Douglas N. Cox
    • California Public Health Foundation
  • Wai Nang Choy
    • Department of Health Services, State of California
  • Andrew G. Hendrickx
    • California Primate Research CenterUniversity of California

DOI: 10.1007/BF02783772

Cite this article as:
Hawkes, W.C., Willhite, C.C., Craig, K.A. et al. Biol Trace Elem Res (1992) 35: 281. doi:10.1007/BF02783772


Forty pregnant long-tailed macaques were treated daily for 30 d with 0, 25, 150 or 300 μg selenium as L-selenomethionine/kg body weight. Erythrocyte and plasma selenium and glutathione peroxidase specific activities, hair and fecal selenium, and urinary selenium excretion were increased by and were linearly related to L-selenomethionine dose. Hair selenium was most sensitive to L-selenomethionine dose, with an 84-fold increase in the 300 μg selenium/(kg-d) group relative to controls (r=0.917). Daily urinary selenium excretion (80-fold,r=0.958), plasma selenium (22-fold,r=0.885), erythrocyte selenium (24-fold,r=0.920), and fecal selenium (18-fold,r=0.911) also responded strongly to L-selenomethionine. Erythrocyte and plasma glutathione peroxidase specific activities increased 154% and 69% over controls, respectively. Toxicity was associated with erythrocyte selenium >2.3 μg/mL, plasma selenium >2.8 μg/mL, and hair selenium >27 μg/g. Plasma, erythrocyte, and hair selenium concentrations may be useful for monitoring and preventing the toxicity of L-selenomethionine administered to humans in cancer chemoprevention trials.

Index Entries

Selenomethionineseleniumglutathione peroxidaseMacaca fascicularislong-tailed macaquenonhuman primateselenium status assessmentselenium toxicity, cancer chemoprevention

Copyright information

© The Humana Press, Inc 1992