Selenium is an essential trace element linked to normal development and antioxidant defense mechanisms through its incorporation into selenoproteins via the amino acid, selenocysteine (Sec). Male mice lacking both the Se transporter, selenoprotein P (SELENOP), and selenocysteine lyase (Scly), which plays a role in intracellular Se utilization, require Se supplementation for viability and exhibit neuromotor deficits. Previously, we demonstrated that male SELENOP/Scly double knockout (DKO) mice suffer from loss of motor function and audiogenic seizures due to neurodegeneration, both of which are alleviated by prepubescent castration. The current study examined the neuromotor function of female DKO mice using the rotarod and open field test, as well as the effects of dietary Se restriction. Female DKO mice exhibited a milder form of neurological impairment than their male counterparts. This impairment is exacerbated by removal of Se supplementation during puberty. These results indicate there is a critical time frame in which Se supplementation is essential for neurodevelopment. These sex-specific differences may unveil new insights into dietary requirements for this essential nutrient in humans.
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