excess vanadium

Table 2 Excretion, retention, and possible biological roles of the ultratrace elements

Element Organs of high content

(typical concentration)

Major excretory route after Ingestion

Molecules of biological importance

Possible biological role









Hair (O.6S mgg-1) Nails (O.SS mgg-1) Skin (O.1Omgg-1)

Bone (1.6mgg-1) Fingernails (15mgg~1) Hair (1 mgg-1) Teeth (5 mgg-1)

Hair (3.0 mgg-1) Liver (4.0 mgg-1) Lung (6.0 mgg-1) Testis (5.0 mgg~1) Kidney (14mgg-1) Liver (4 mgg~1)

Bone (9 mgg-1) Liver (0.3 mgg-1) Pancreas (0.2 mgg-1) Testis (0.5 mgg-1) Aorta (1-2mgg-1) Bone (25 mgg-1) Kidney (1-2 mgg-1) Liver (1-2 mgg-1)

Urine; also significant amounts in bile




Urine and gastrointestinal tract



Urine; also significant amounts in bile

Aluminum binds to proteins, nucleotides, and phospholipids; aluminum-bound transferrin apparently is a transport molecule Methylation of Inorganic oxyarsenic anions occurs in organisms ranging from microbial to mammalian; methylated and products include arsenocholine, arsenobetaine, dimethylarsinic acid, and methylarsonic acid; arsenite methyltransferase and monomethylarsonic acid methyltransferase use S-adenosylmethionine for the methyl donor Boron biochemistry essentially that of boric acid, which forms ester complexes with hydroxyl groups, preferably those adjacent and cis, in organic compounds. Five naturally occurring boron esters (all antibiotics) synthesized by various bacteria have been characterized Exists as Br Ion in vivo, binds to proteins and amino acids

Metallothionein, a high sulfhydryl-containing protein involved in regulating cadmium distribution Exists as fluoride ion or hydrogen fluoride in body fluids; about 99% of body fluorine found in mineralized tissues as fluoroapatite None identified

Plasma lead mostly bound to albumin; blood lead binds mostly to hemoglobin but some binds a low molecular weight protein in arythrocytes

Enzyme activator

Metabolism of methionine, or involved in labile methyl metabolism; regulation of gene expression

Cell membrane function or stability such that it influences the response to hormone action, transmembrane signaling or transmembrane movement of regulatory cations or anlons

Electrolyte balance

Involved in metallathionein metabolism and utilization

Role in biological mineralization

Role in immune function

Facilitates iron absorption and/or utilization

Table 2 Continued


Organs of high content

Major excretory route

Molecules of biological

Possible biological role

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