Protective effects and mechanism of chemical- and plant-based selenocystine against cadmium-induced liver damage

Lin Zhang, Wen Yao Shi, Jia Ying Xu, Yan Liu, Shi Jia Wang, Jia Yang Zheng, Yun Hong Li*, Lin Xi Yuan, Li Qiang Qin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although selenium (Se) and cadmium (Cd) often coexist naturally in the soil of China, the health risks to local residents consuming Se-Cd co-enriched foods are unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effects of chemical-based selenocystine (SeCys2) on cadmium chloride-induced human hepatocarcinoma (HepG2) cell injury and plant (Cardamine hupingshanensis)-derived SeCys2 against Cd-induced liver injury in mice. We found that chemical- and plant-based SeCys2 showed protective effects against Cd-induced HepG2 cell injury and liver damage in mice, respectively. Compared with Cd intervention group, co-treatment with chemical- or plant-based SeCys2 both alleviated liver toxicity and ferroptosis by decreasing ferrous iron, acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain (ACSL) family member 4, lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 3, reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxide levels, and increasing ACSL3, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α, solute carrier family 7 member 11 (SLC7A11) and glutathione and glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) levels. In conclusion, chemical- and plant-based SeCys2 alleviated Cd-induced hepatotoxicity and ferroptosis by regulating SLC7A11/GPX4 signaling and lipid peroxidation. Our findings indicate that potential Cd toxicity from consuming foods grown in Se- and Cd-rich soils should be re-evaluated. This study offers a new perspective for the development of SeCys2-enriched agricultural products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133812
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2024


  • Cadmium
  • Cardamine hupingshanensis
  • Ferroptosis
  • Liver Damage
  • Selenium


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