Correlation of Mercury and Selenium in the Human Kidney

T
he total mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) concentrations were determined in kidney cortex samples of 195 deceased, non-occupationally burdened individuals. Mercury was determined by means of Cold-vapor Atomic ABSORPTION Spectroscopy. And selenium by GraphitemFurnace Atomic Absorptrion Spectrometry. The molar Se/Hg ratio is high in cases with relative low mercury concentrations (Hg). The ratio with increasing Hg. At 700-1000 ng/g it unity, where it remains constant even at larger (Hg(\). Since in vitro mercury and selenium from relatively stable adducts, the result of this study suggests the formation of a !:! Hg-Se compound that may explain mercury detoxification by selenium. This effect also results in the trapping of available selenium by mercury too. Decreasing the reserve of free (i.e. not Hg-bound) selenium. The effect of this decrease of free selenium is under investigation.

G Drasch, E Wanghofer, G Roider, S Strobach J Trace Elem Med Biol 1996;10:251-254.