Selenium (Se) can protect endothelial cells (EC) from oxidative damage by altering the expression of selenoproteins with antioxidant function such as cytoplasmic glutathione peroxidase (cyGPX), phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGPX) and thioredoxin reductase (TR). If the role of Se on EC function is to be studied, it is essential that a model system be chosen which reflects selenoprotein expression in human EC derived from vessels prone to developing atheroma. We have used [75Se]-selenite labelling and selenoenzyme measurements to compare the selenoproteins expressed by cultures of EC isolated from different human vasculature with EC bovine and porcine aorta. Only small differences were observed in selenoprotein expression and activity in EC originating from human coronary artery, human umbilical vein (HUVEC), human umbilical artery and the human EC line EAhy926. The selenoprotein profile in HUVEC was consistent over eight passages and HUVEC isolated from four cords also showed little variability. In contrast, EC isolated from pig and bovine aorta showed marked differences in selenoprotein expression when compared to human cells. This study firmly establishes the suitability and consistency of using HUVEC (and possibly the human cell line EAhy926) as a model to study the effects of Se on EC function in relation to atheroma development in the coronary artery. Bovine or porcine EC appear to be an inappropriate model.