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Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications
Volume 2014, Article ID 923834, 8 pages
Research Article

Human Lung Cancer Cell Line A-549 ATCC Is Differentially Affected by Supranutritional Organic and Inorganic Selenium

1Universidad de Guanajuato, Lascurain de Retana 5, 36000 Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
2Departamento de Fisiología, Biofísica y Neurociencias, CINVESTAV, Avenida Instituto Politécnico Nacional 2508, San Pedro Zacatenco, Gustavo A. Madero, 07360 Ciudad de México, DF, Mexico

Received 25 June 2014; Revised 10 October 2014; Accepted 13 October 2014; Published 12 November 2014

Academic Editor: Takao Yagi

Copyright © 2014 Lérida Liss Flores Villavicencio et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effects of organic and inorganic forms of selenium (Se) on human cells have been extensively studied for nutritional concentrations; however, to date, little is known about the potential toxicity at supranutritional levels. In the present study we determined the effects of sodium selenite (SSe) and selenomethionine (SeMet) on cell growth and intracellular structures in lung cancer cells exposed at Se concentrations between 0 and 3 mM. Our results showed that SSe affected cell growth more rapidly than SeMet (24 h and 48 h, resp.). After 24 h of cells exposure to 0.5, 1.5, and 3 mM SSe, cell growth was reduced by 10, 50, and 60%, as compared to controls. After 48 h, nuclear fragmentation was evident in cells exposed to SSe, suggesting an induction to cell death. In contrast, SeMet did not affect cell proliferation, and the cells were phenotypically similar to controls. Microtubules and microfilaments structures were also affected by both Se compounds, again SSe being more toxic than SeMet. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the differential effects of organic and inorganic Se in supranutritional levels in lung cancer cells.