, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 893–903 | Cite as

Elevated mercury bound to serum proteins in methylmercury poisoned rats after selenium treatment

  • Yunyun Li
  • Yuqin Fan
  • Jiating Zhao
  • Xiaohan Xu
  • Hui Jing
  • Lihai Shang
  • Yuxi Gao
  • Bai Li
  • Yu-Feng Li


Methylmercury is a toxic pollutant and is generated by microbial methylation of elemental or inorganic mercury in the environment. Previous study found decreased hepatic MDA levels and urinary mercury levels in methylmercury poisoned rats after sodium selenite treatment. This study further found increased mercury levels in serum samples from methylmercury poisoned rats after selenium treatment. By using size exclusion chromatography coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, three Hg- binding protein fractions and two Se-binding protein fractions were identified with the molecular weight of approximately 21, 40, and 75 kDa and of 40 and 75 kDa, respectively. Elevated mercury level in the 75 kDa protein fraction was found binding with both Hg and Se, which may explain the decreased urinary Hg excretion in MeHg poisoned rats after Se treatment. MALDI-TOF-MS analysis of the serum found that the 75 kDa protein fractions were albumin binding with both Hg and Se and the 21 kDa fraction was Hg- binding metallothionein.


Methylmercury Selenite Albumin SEC–ICP–MS MALDI-TOF-MS Rats 



This work was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (11205168, 11375213, 41173024, 11475196 and U1432241). L Shang gratefully acknowledges the support of the CAS Youth Innovation Promotion Association, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2011280). Y-F Li gratefully acknowledges the support of K. C. Wong Education Foundation, Hong Kong and the CAS Youth Innovation Promotion Association, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2011017).

Supplementary material

10534_2016_9961_MOESM1_ESM.docx (385 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 385 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yunyun Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuqin Fan
    • 3
  • Jiating Zhao
    • 1
  • Xiaohan Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hui Jing
    • 1
  • Lihai Shang
    • 4
  • Yuxi Gao
    • 1
  • Bai Li
    • 1
  • Yu-Feng Li
    • 1
  1. 1.State Environmental Protection Engineering Center for Mercury Pollution Prevention and Control, and Laboratory of Metallomics and Nanometallomics, Institute of High Energy PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Shandong Maternity and Child Care HospitalJinanChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina

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