Potential Role of Selenium in Modifying the Effect of Maternal Methylmercury Exposure on Child Neurodevelopment-A Review

Maria Wesolowska, Alison J Yeates, Emeir M McSorley, Edwin van Wijngaarden, Conrad F Shamlaye, Gary J Myers, J J Strain, Maria S Mulhern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Downloads (Pure)


Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for normal neurodevelopment. It is incorporated into multiple selenoenzymes which have roles in the brain and neurological function, the synthesis of thyroid hormones, the antioxidant defense system, DNA synthesis, and reproduction. Fish is a source of both Se and neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg). Selenium is known to ameliorate the effects of MeHg in experimental animals, but studies in children exposed to both Se and MeHg through prenatal fish consumption have been inconclusive. Research on Se's implications for pregnancy and child neurodevelopment is limited. The aims of this review are to summarize the literature on the biological roles of Se during pregnancy and the potential role in mitigating the effects of MeHg exposure from fish consumption on human health. This review has shown that Se concentrations among pregnant women globally appear insufficient, with the majority of pregnant women reporting Se concentrations below 70µg/L during pregnancy. The role of Se in child development and its interactions with MeHg in children are inconclusive. Further investigation of the interaction between Se and MeHg in relation to child neurodevelopment in high fish-eating populations is required to fully elucidate effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
Early online date31 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 31 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • selenium
  • pregnancy
  • pregnancy outcomes
  • child
  • neurodevelopment
  • methylmercury
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy outcomes
  • Methylmercury
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Selenium
  • Child


Dive into the research topics of 'Potential Role of Selenium in Modifying the Effect of Maternal Methylmercury Exposure on Child Neurodevelopment-A Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this