Yamashita, Michiaki; Yamashita, Yumiko; Ando, Tetsuo; Wakamiya, Junji; Akiba, Suminori
Selenoneine is the major selenium compound in fish muscles, and fish appears to be an important source of selenium in the fish-eating population. Selenoneine has strong antioxidant activity and a detoxifying function against methylmercury (MeHg) toxicity. Dietary intake, bioaccumulation, and metabolism of selenoneine have not been characterized in humans. A nutritional survey was conducted in remote islands of the Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan. To evaluate the potential risks and benefits of fish consumption for health, we measured concentrations of selenoneine, total selenium, MeHg, inorganic mercury, and polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) in the blood of a fish-eating human population. The erythrocyte, leukocyte, and platelet residues following removal of serum (cellular fraction) contained 0.510 μg Se/g, 0.212 μg selenoneine Se/g, and 0.262 μg Se-containing proteins Se/g, whereas the serum contained 0.174 μg total Se/g. Selenoneine was highly concentrated in the cellular fraction in a manner that was dependent on subjects' frequency of fish consumption. Concentrations of selenoneine were closely correlated with concentrations of MeHg in the cellular fraction. Selenoneine is the major chemical form of selenium in the blood cells of this fish-eating human population and may be an important biomarker for selenium redox status.