Abstract: Determining the speciation of selenium in vivo is crucial to understanding the biological activity of this essential element, which is a popular dietary supplement due to its anti-cancer properties. Hyphenated techniques that combine separation and detection methods are traditionally and effectively used in selenium speciation analysis, but require extensive sample preparation that may affect speciation. Synchrotron-based X-ray absorption and fluorescence techniques offer an alternative approach to selenium speciation analysis that requires minimal sample preparation. We present a brief summary of some key HPLC-ICP-MS and ESI-MS/MS studies of the speciation of selenium in cells and rat tissues. We review the results of a top-down approach to selenium speciation in human lung cancer cells that aims to link the speciation and distribution of selenium to its biological activity using a combination of X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM). The results of this approach highlight the distinct fates of selenomethionine, methylselenocysteine and selenite in terms of their speciation and distribution within cells: organic selenium metabolites were widely distributed throughout the cells, whereas inorganic selenium metabolites were compartmentalized and associated with copper. New data from the XFM mapping of electrophoretically-separated cell lysates show the distribution of selenium in the proteins of selenomethionine-treated cells. Future applications of this top-down approach are discussed.
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Weekley, C.M.; Aitken, J.B.; Finney, L.; Vogt, S.; Witting, P.K.; Harris, H.H. Selenium Metabolism in Cancer Cells: The Combined Application of XAS and XFM Techniques to the Problem of Selenium Speciation in Biological Systems. Nutrients 2013, 5, 1734-1756.
Weekley CM, Aitken JB, Finney L, Vogt S, Witting PK, Harris HH. Selenium Metabolism in Cancer Cells: The Combined Application of XAS and XFM Techniques to the Problem of Selenium Speciation in Biological Systems. Nutrients. 2013; 5(5):1734-1756.
Weekley, Claire M.; Aitken, Jade B.; Finney, Lydia; Vogt, Stefan; Witting, Paul K.; Harris, Hugh H. 2013. "Selenium Metabolism in Cancer Cells: The Combined Application of XAS and XFM Techniques to the Problem of Selenium Speciation in Biological Systems." Nutrients 5, no. 5: 1734-1756.