Identification and metabolism of selenocysteine-glutathione selenenyl sulfide (CySeSG) in small intestine of mice orally exposed to selenocystine

Arch Toxicol. 1996;71(1-2):39-44. doi: 10.1007/s002040050356.


This investigation was carried out to elucidate the chemical form of selenium-containing metabolite in small intestine of ICR male mice orally administered selenocystine (CySeSeCy). The metabolite in intestinal cytosol of mice treated with CySeSeCy (50 mg/kg) was identified as selenocysteine-glutathione selenenyl sulfide (CySeSG) by high performance liquid chromatography using a gel filtration and reversed phase column. Hydrogen selenide formation was caused as a result of the anaerobic reaction between the CySeSG and liver cytosol containing selenocysteine beta-lyase, which specifically acts on selenocysteine (CySeH). Effects of GSH or glutathione reductase on hydrogen selenide formation from CyseSG reacted with the liver cytosol were examined. The CySeSG was nonenzymatically reduced to CySeH by excess GSH in the liver cytosol. It was also recognized that CySeSG was enzymatically reduced to CySeH by glutathione reductase in the presence of NADPH. These results indicate that the chemical form of this metabolite is CySeSG, which has a molecular weight of 473, the CySeSG is then reduced by excess GSH and/or glutathione reductase yielding CySeH, which is decomposed by selenocysteine beta-lyase to hydrogen selenide. CySeSG may be a stable precursor of hydrogen selenide in animals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Cystine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cystine / metabolism
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Lyases / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Organoselenium Compounds / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Selenium Compounds / metabolism*


  • Organoselenium Compounds
  • Selenium Compounds
  • selenocystine
  • Cystine
  • Lyases
  • selenocysteine lyase
  • hydrogen selenide