Document Detail

Selenium and arsenic in biology: their chemical forms and biological functions.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  1442244     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Based on the recent development of analytical methods, sensitive systems for the analysis and speciation of selenium and arsenic have been established. A palladium addition technique was developed for the accurate determination of selenium in biological samples using graphite furnace atomic absorption analysis. For the speciation of the elements, combined methods of HPLC either with ICP-AES or with ICP-MS were found to work well. These systems were applied to the elucidation of the chemical form of the elements in natural samples. Some chemical properties of the selenium-mercury complex in dolphin liver were elucidated: i.e., it was a cationic, water-soluble, low molecular weight compound containing selenium and mercury in a 1:1 molar ratio, and was shown to be different from a known selenium-mercury complex, bis(methylmercuric)selenide. The major selenium compound excreted in human urine was revealed to be other than any of those previously identified (TMSe, selenate, and selenite). TMSe, a suspected major metabolite in urine, was found, if at all, in low levels. The major water-soluble, and lipid-soluble arsenic compounds in a brown seaweed, U. pinnatifida (WAKAME), were rigorously identified, and the results were compared with other data on marine algae and animals. The major organic arsenic compounds (termed "arseno-sugars") in marine algae commonly contain 5-deoxy-5-dimethylarsinyl-ribofuranoside moiety. There are various kinds of arseno-sugar derivatives containing different side-chains attached to the anomeric position of the sugar, and the distribution of each arsenic species seems to be related to algal species. The arseno-sugar (A-XI) is present in every alga so far examined, is metabolized to lipids, and possibly may play some specific role in the algal cells. On the other hand, the major arsenic compound in fish, crustacea and molluscs has been identified as arsenobetaine, which is an arseno-analog of glycinebetaine, a very common osmo-regulator in living organisms. Arsenobetaine is not detected in marine algae while arseno-sugars are not present in marine animals except for some molluscs which contain both compounds in considerable amounts. Arsenobetaine is present in the urine of human beings who have eaten foods derived from marine animals.
Y Shibata; M Morita; K Fuwa
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Advances in biophysics     Volume:  28     ISSN:  0065-227X     ISO Abbreviation:  Adv. Biophys.     Publication Date:  1992  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1992-12-07     Completed Date:  1992-12-07     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0262476     Medline TA:  Adv Biophys     Country:  IRELAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  31-80     Citation Subset:  IM    
National Institute for Environmental Studies, Ibaraki, Japan.
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MeSH Terms
Arsenic / analysis,  metabolism*,  toxicity
Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
Mass Spectrometry / methods
Selenium / chemistry,  metabolism*,  toxicity
Spectrum Analysis / methods
Reg. No./Substance:
7440-38-2/Arsenic; 7782-49-2/Selenium

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