Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Trace Metals and Infectious Diseases$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jerome O. Nriagu and Eric P. Skaar

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029193

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029193.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Selenium and Mercury

Selenium and Mercury

Their Interactions and Roles in Living Organisms

(p.229) 14 Selenium and Mercury
Trace Metals and Infectious Diseases

Tamara García-Barrera

The MIT Press

The essential or toxic character of the elements depends not only on their concentration, but also on the chemical form in which they occur. This is the case of arsenobetaine, which has limited biological activity compared to the highly toxic inorganic arsenic. Some elements, however, can counteract the toxic action of others through cooperative, competitive, or availability mechanisms. A good example of this is the protective effect of some chemical forms of selenium against mercury toxicity. Cadmium causes the conversion of xanthine dehydrogenase into xanthine oxidase and abnormalities in urate transporters (hyperuricemia), observed in rats under oxidative stress, but cadmium does not have redox properties. This is because cadmium replaces other metals with redox properties. Another example is that toxicity caused by the presence of arsenic in drinking water in countries like Bangladesh is increased through selenium and zinc deficiency detected in the soil. Clearly, the essentiality or toxic character of trace elements cannot be considered in isolation, since it can be modulated by their interaction with the particular organism (its genome), with other elements, and with biomolecules, and is dependent on dose and chemical form.

Keywords:   cooperation for metals, metal availability, selenium, cadmium, metal toxicity

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.