Interaction of methylmercury and selenium in mouse: Formation and decomposition of bis(methylmercuric) selenide

Akira Naganuma, Y. Kojima, N. Imura

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Bis(methylmercuric) selenide [BMS; (CH3Hg)2Se] formation from methylmercury and selenite in rabbit blood was recently reported. In the present experiment in vitro and in vivo formation and decomposition of BMS in mouse were investigated. When methylmercury and selenite were added in vitro to the homogenates, soluble fraction or insoluble fraction of mouse liver, kidney, spleen and brain, substantial amount of BMS was formed. BMS was also formed by the addition of methylmercury into the soluble fraction of liver or kidney obtained from the mouse pre-treated with selenite. However, BMS was hardly detected in the tissues of mouse iv injected with both methylmercury and selenite and even with BMS itself. These experimental results together with the rapid decomposition of BMS observed in vitro suggest that the cycle of the formation and the decomposition of BMS may repeatedly occur in vivo. Concentrations of mercury and selenium in the brain of mouse receiving BMS were revealed to be significantly higher than those of the mouse administered with methylmercury and/or selenite, suggesting a possibility that the increase of brain-mercury concentration by the administration of selenite, reported so far by several investigators, is due to the formation of BMS from methylmercury and selenite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-316
Number of pages16
JournalResearch Communications in Chemical Pathology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1980 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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