This paper evaluates the effect of small differences in selenium exposure, within the safe range, on the glomerular vascular tufts of rats fed high-sucrose diets. In the first experiment male Wistar rats were housed in galvanized cages and were provided sucrose-based diets to induce a mild chronic insult to the microcirculation. One group of rats received the diet prepared to contain 0.10 mg Se/kg and another group 0.21 mg Se/kg. To assure that the galvanized metal cages were not influencing the results of the experiment this protocol was repeated in a second experiment wherein rats were housed in stainless steel cages. The levels of Se used supported normal activity of the long-term indicator of Se sufficiency, erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase. In both experiments rats fed diets containing 0.21 mg Se/kg had larger Bowman's capsules (P < 0.01) and vascular tufts (P < 0.01). Vascular tufts from these rats also contained a higher proportion of open capillary lumen (P < 0.01), contained less cytoplasmic and extracellular material (P < 0.001), and had larger nuclei (P < 0.001) than those fed 0.10 mg Se/kg. A third study was designed to determine if the selenium-dependent differences in nuclear size were indicative of this being a site of incorporation. Year-old rats subjected to the same protocol as those in the second experiment were given 75Se, by injection into the femoral vein, to label the sites of incorporation. Glomeruli were purified and subjected to subcellular fractionation. Ninety percent of the radioactivity was associated with the crude nuclear fraction. Purification of the crude nuclear fraction demonstrated that the radioactivity was associated with the nuclei.