Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient known for its antioxidant properties and health benefits, attributed to its presence in selenoproteins as the amino acid, selenocysteine. Selenocysteine lyase (Scly) catalyzes hydrolysis of selenocysteine to selenide and alanine, facilitating re-utilization of Se for de novo selenoprotein synthesis. Previously, it was reported that male Scly−/−
mice develop increased body weight and body fat composition, and altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, compared to wild type mice. Strikingly, females appeared to present with a less severe phenotype, suggesting the relationship between Scly and energy metabolism may be regulated in a sex-specific manner. Here, we report that while body weight and body fat gain occur in both male and female Scly−/−
mice, strikingly, males are susceptible to developing glucose intolerance, whereas female Scly−/−
mice are protected. Because Se is critical for male reproduction, we hypothesized that castration would attenuate the metabolic dysfunction observed in male Scly−/−
mice by eliminating sequestration of Se in testes. We report that fasting serum insulin levels were significantly reduced in castrated males compared to controls, but islet area was unchanged between groups. Finally, both male and female Scly−/−
mice exhibit reduced hypothalamic expression of selenoproteins S, M, and glutathione peroxidase 1.
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