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Selenium, selenoproteins and human health: a review.

Public Health Nutrition

Glutathione Peroxidase, metabolism, Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase, Selenoproteins, Selenoprotein W, Selenoprotein P, blood, administration & dosage, Selenium, Proteins, Nutritional Requirements, enzymology, Liver, Iodide Peroxidase, Immunity, Humans, Health

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      Abstract

      Selenium is of fundamental importance to human health. It is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways, including thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defence systems, and immune function. The decline in blood selenium concentration in the UK and other European Union countries has therefore several potential public health implications, particularly in relation to the chronic disease prevalence of the Western world such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Ten years have elapsed since recommended dietary intakes of selenium were introduced on the basis of blood glutathione peroxidase activity. Since then 30 new selenoproteins have been identified, of which 15 have been purified to allow characterisation of their biological function. The long term health implications in relation to declining selenium intakes have not yet been thoroughly examined, yet the implicit importance of selenium to human health is recognised universally. Selenium is incorporated as selenocysteine at the active site of a wide range of selenoproteins. The four glutathione peroxidase enzymes (classical GPx1, gastrointestinal GPx2, plasma GPx3, phospholipid hydroperoxide GPx4)) which represent a major class of functionally important selenoproteins, were the first to be characterised. Thioredoxin reductase (TR) is a recently identified seleno-cysteine containing enzyme which catalyzes the NADPH dependent reduction of thioredoxin and therefore plays a regulatory role in its metabolic activity. Approximately 60% of Se in plasma is incorporated in selenoprotein P which contains 10 Se atoms per molecule as selenocysteine, and may serve as a transport protein for Se. However, selenoprotein-P is also expressed in many tissues which suggests that although it may facilitate whole body Se distribution, this may not be its sole function. A second major class of selenoproteins are the iodothyronine deiodinase enzymes which catalyse the 5'5-mono-deiodination of the prohormone thyroxine (T4) to the active thyroid hormone 3,3'5-triiodothyronine (T3). Sperm capsule selenoprotein is localised in the mid-peice portion of spermatozoa where it stabilises the integrity of the sperm flagella. Se intake effects tissue concentrations of selenoprotein W which is reported to be necessary for muscle metabolism. It is of great concern that the health implications of the decline in Se status in the UK over the past two decades have not been systematically investigated. It is well recognised that dietary selenium is important for a healthy immune response. There is also evidence that Se has a protective effect against some forms of cancer; that it may enhance male fertility; decrease cardiovascular disease mortality, and regulate the inflammatory mediators in asthma. The potential influence of Se on these chronic diseases within the European population are important considerations when assessing Se requirement.

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      Most cited references 12

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      The selenoenzyme phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase

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        Tissue-specific regulation of selenoenzyme gene expression during selenium deficiency in rats.

        Regulation of synthesis of the selenoenzymes cytosolic glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGSH-Px) and type-1 iodothyronine 5'-deiodinase (5'IDI) was investigated in liver, thyroid and heart of rats fed on diets containing 0.405, 0.104 (Se-adequate), 0.052, 0.024 or 0.003 mg of Se/kg. Severe Se deficiency (0.003 mg of Se/kg) caused almost total loss of GSH-Px activity and mRNA in liver and heart. 5'IDI activity decreased by 95% in liver and its mRNA by 50%; in the thyroid, activity increased by 15% and mRNA by 95%. PHGSH-Px activity was reduced by 75% in the liver and 60% in the heart but mRNA levels were unchanged; in the thyroid, PHGSH-Px activity was unaffected by Se depletion but its mRNA increased by 52%. Thus there is differential regulation of the three mRNAs and subsequent protein synthesis within and between organs, suggesting both that mechanisms exist to channel Se for synthesis of a particular enzyme and that there is tissue-specific regulation of selenoenzyme mRNAs. During Se depletion, the levels of selenoenzyme mRNA did not necessarily parallel the changes in enzyme activity, suggesting a distinct mechanism for regulating mRNA levels. Nuclear run-off assays with isolated liver nuclei showed severe Se deficiency to have no effect on transcription of the three genes, suggesting that there is post-transcriptional control of the three selenoenzymes, probably involving regulation of mRNA stability.
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          A selenocysteine-containing selenium-transport protein in rat plasma.

          A selenocysteine-containing rat plasma protein (selenoprotein P) was examined for a possible role in the transport of selenium in the rat. A time-course study of the localization of injected 75Se from [75Se]selenite indicated that one-half of the selenium was sequestered by liver tissue 1 h after injection and that one-fourth of the 75Se in the plasma was attached to selenoprotein P 3 h after injections. By 25 h there was little 75Se in plasma, and much of the 75Se had accumulated in nonhepatic tissues. 75Se was incorporated into selenoprotein P by liver slices in a process that was sensitive to the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. The fate of 75Se from intracardially injected 75Se-labeled selenoprotein P was followed in rats maintained on selenium-deficient and selenium-sufficient diets. Substantially more of the injected 75Se was present per gram wet weight in the testes and kidneys than the livers of the selenium-deprived rats after 5 h. The results indicate that selenoprotein P is synthesized in rat liver and that it transfers selenium from the liver to extrahepatic tissues.
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            11683552

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