This study was aimed at documenting the kinetic time courses of selenium (Se) in accessible biological matrices of volunteers following controlled applications of therapeutic shampoo containing Se, to better elucidate the mechanisms by which shampoo-Se accumulates in hair and hence estimate the contribution of this source to total Se body burden. Ten healthy volunteers were exposed to Se-shampoo three times a week over a month. Blood, hair and toenail concentrations along with daily urinary excretions were repeatedly measured over an 18-month period following the onset of application. Over the entire study period, blood concentrations of Se (range: 127-233μg/l) and daily urinary excretions (range: 11.9-150μg/d) remained within baseline range of the general population. Conversely, during shampoo application, mean Se concentrations in hair reached transitional levels of 89μg/g while, following cessation of treatment, a mono-exponential decrease was observed with a mean half-life of 4.5 weeks. Two of the volunteers also exhibited an increase in toenail concentrations of Se during the study period. Results show that Se-shampoo does not contribute significantly to total Se body burden, as assessed from blood and urine levels. Differences observed between blood and urine time courses as compared to hair profiles and the presence of Se on hair grown before treatment indicates an adsorption on hair; however, the gradual decrease in Se concentrations in successive centimeters of hair grown following the application period suggests a concomitant absorption from the scalp during treatment with subsequent excretion in hair.
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