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

Wayne Chris Hawkes, Calvin C. Willhite, Kimberly A. Craig, Stanley T. Omaye, Douglas N. Cox, Wai Nang Choy, Andrew G Hendrickx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-297
Number of pages17
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1992


  • glutathione peroxidase
  • long-tailed macaque
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • nonhuman primate
  • selenium
  • selenium status assessment
  • selenium toxicity, cancer chemoprevention
  • Selenomethionine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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