Selenium and zinc protections against metal-(loids)-induced toxicity and disease manifestations: A review

Metals are ubiquitous in the environment due to huge industrial applications in the form of different chemicals and from extensive mining activities. The frequent exposures to metals and metalloids are crucial for the human health. Trace metals are beneficial for health whereas non-essential metals are dangerous for the health and some are proven etiological factors for diseases including cancers and neurological disorders. The interactions of essential trace metals such as selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) with non-essential metals viz. lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), and mercury (Hg) in biological system are very critical and complex. A huge number of studies report the protective role of Se and Zn against metal toxicity, both in animal and cellular levels, and also explain the numerous mechanisms involved. However, it has been considered that a tiny dyshomeostasis in the metals/trace metals status in biological system could induce severe deleterious effects that can manifest to numerous diseases. Thus, in this particular review, the authors have demonstrated the critical protection mechanism/s of Se and Zn against Cd, Pb, As and Hg toxicity in a one by one manner to clarify the up-to-date findings and perspectives. Furthermore, biomolecular consequences are comprehensively presented in light of particular cellular/biomolecular events which are somehow linked to a subsequent disease. The analysed reports support significant protection potential of Se and Zn, either alone or in combination with other agents, against each of the abovementioned non-essential metals. However, Se and Zn are still not being used as detoxifying agents due to some unexplained reasons. The authors hypothesised that Se could be a potential candidate for detoxifying As and Hg regardless of their chemical speciations, but requires intensive clinical trials. However, particularly Zn-Hg interaction warrants more investigations both in animal and cellular level.

Authors: Rahman MM, Hossain KFB, Banik S, Sikder MT, Akter M, Bondad SEC, Rahaman MS, Hosokawa T, Saito T, Kurasaki M. ; Full Source: Ecotoxicology & Environmental Safety. 2018 Oct 29; 168:146-163. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2018.10.054. [Epub ahead of print]