Seleno-glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) is considered to be the major enzymatic activity in charge of removing excess cytosolic and mitochondrial H2O2 in most tissues including brain. Intracellular GSHPx activity is therefore hypothesized to be one important factor that contributes to minimize hydroxyl radical formation via Fenton-type reactions. An animal model was developed to challenge this hypothesis in vivo and evaluate the role of GSHPx in hydroperoxide metabolism and oxidative stress homeostasis. Three lines of transgenic mice, homozygous for the integration of 1 to 3 GSHPx transgene copies, have been generated. The transgene was placed under transcriptional control of a metallothionein promoter (hMT-IIA). This promoter was chosen because metallothionein expression, normally low in most tissues, can be induced by several inflammatory cytokines, protein kinase C activators, and stress agents including heavy metals. The data reported here provide information on the constitutive expression of GSHPx mRNA and enzyme in various brain regions of healthy untreated adult tg-MT-GPx mice. Northern and/or Western analysis indicated that transgenic GSHPx was expressed constitutively in all brain regions investigated in tg-MT-GPx-6 mice, including the cerebral cortex, brainstem, hippothalamus, cerebellum, substantia nigra, and striatum. Similar results were obtained with the two other transgenic lines, tg-MT-GPx-11 and -13. Depending on the brain region, the GSHPx immunoreactivity detected in tissue extracts with an immunoaffinity-purified polyclonal antibody was about 2- to 5-fold stronger in transgenic extracts than in their non-tg counterparts (western blots). In contrast, the corresponding increase in GSHPx activity measured in these extracts was smaller, for example, about 1.5-fold in transgenic mesencephalon. Immunocytochemical data indicated that GSHPx-like staining was distinctly more intense in transgenic midbrain brain sections than in corresponding non-tg sections. Interestingly, only a subset of the cells displayed higher density staining that most likely reflects increased amounts of GSHPx protein. This observation suggests that the stained cells, not yet identified, may have larger GSHPx activity increments than the cell-average increments measured in tissue extracts. Current work is in progress to determine whether transgenic GSHPx expression may be induced by inflammatory processes or perturbations of heavy metal metabolism.