Mode of interaction of mercuric mercury and selenite in rabbit blood was investigated in vitro. After the incubation of rabbit blood with 10-5 M each of 203HgCl2 and Na275SeO3, the amounts of both 203Hg and 75Se incorporated into erythrocytes were markedly larger than the case where the blood was treated separately with one of these compounds. Most of 203Hg and 75Se distributed into plasma and erythrocytes were found in high-molecular weight substance(s) (HMWS) fractionated by gel filtration at a molar ratio of 1:1. The 203Hg and 75Se in HMWS found in plasma and erythrocytes were hardly diffusable through the erythrocytes membrane. The formation of the HMWS containing mercury and selenium was observed in stroma-free hemolysate incubated with mercuric chloride and selenite, but not in plasma. Addition of reduced glutathione (GSH) to the plasma, however, gave the HMWS as reaction products containing equimolar amounts of mercury and selenium. Further the binding properties of selenium to proteins were studied in the plasma incubated with selenodiglutathione (GSSeSG) or with selenite in the presence of GSH. The results indicated that GSH, a cellular component, is essential for the formation of an active selenium compound from selenite and that the interaction of mercuric mercury and selenite in plasma in the presence of GSH may occur through the other mechanism than the formation of GSSeSG.
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