1,25(OH)2 Vitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) and adhesion propagate monocyte differentiation. We identified the selenoprotein thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) as a new molecular target for 1,25(OH)2D3 in monocytes during this process. In THP1 monocytic leukemia cells 1,25(OH)2D3 stimulated TrxR mRNA levels 2-4-fold by 4-8 h and enhanced TrxR activity (60%) (as measured by the dithionitrobenzole-assay) after 24 h, which declined below baseline after 96 h. The addition of 100 nM selenite enhanced (approx. 50%) basal and stimulated enzyme activity in THP1 cells. The relative stimulation by 1,25(OH)2D3 was very similar but peak levels were sustained in THP1 cells up to 48 h. Human peripheral blood monocytes (PBM) of different donors showed very low basal TrxR steady state mRNA levels which were markedly enhanced (as analyzed by Northern blotting) after 4 h of adherence to culture dishes. 1,25(OH)2D3 (100 nM) further stimulated TrxR mRNA expression (4 h, 3-fold). TrxR enzyme activity mirrored the mRNA changes. Basal activity was stimulated approx. 25% by adhesion in culture alone and was further stimulated (approximately 15%) by 1,25(OH)2D3 after 4 h. By 24 h similar results were achieved but the effect of 1,25(OH)2D3 could be seen in the presence of 100 nM selenium only. The expression of TrxR and its regulation by 1,25(OH)2D3 and selenite in monocytes might be important for their induction of differentiation and maintenance of function.