Rats were fed for 23 d diets adequate or deficient in vitamin B-6 and containing selenium as either sodium selenite, selenocysteine (SeCys) or selenomethionine (SeMet). They were then injected with 75Se of the same chemical form and killed 2 d later. Tissue deposition of stable and radiotracer selenium and the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) were used to assess selenium utilization. Erythrocyte levels of selenium and GSHPx were lower in vitamin B-6--deficient animals for all forms of selenium; however, 75Se deposition in erythrocytes was not affected by vitamin B-6 status. The activities of cystathionine lyase, aspartate aminotransferase and selenocysteine lyase were lower in livers of vitamin B-6--deficient rats than in vitamin B-6--supplemented rats. The proportion of liver and kidney 75Se soluble in 5% trichloroacetic acid and 0.1 M 2-mercaptoethanol was consistently lower in vitamin B-6--deficient animals, but cation-exchange chromatography of tissue extracts did not identify a specific low-molecular-weight species. Tissue retention of 75Se provided as SeMet was increased in vitamin B-6--deficient animals, but the proportion of 75Se retained in muscle and liver as SeCys was significantly reduced. These findings suggest that the conversion of SeMet to a form available for GSHPx synthesis is reduced by vitamin B-6 deficiency.