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Selenium and thyroid autoimmunity

Authors Negro R

Published 6 June 2008 Volume 2008:2(2) Pages 265—273


Roberto Negro

Department of Endocrinology, “V. Fazzi” Hospital, Lecce, Italy

Abstract: The trace element selenium (Se) occurs in the form of the amino acid selenocysteine in selenoproteins. Selenoproteins exerts multiple physiological effects in human health, many of which are related with regulation of reduction-oxidation processes. In fact, the selenoenzyme families of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and thioredoxin reductase (TRx) display the ability to act as antioxidants, protecting cells from oxidative damage. Furthermore, another class of selenoproteins are the iodothyronine deiodinase enzymes (DIO), which catalyze the conversion of thyroxine (T4) in triiodothyronine (T3), then exerting a fine tuned control on thyroid hormones metabolism. Several studies have investigated the potential positive effects of Se supplementation in thyroid diseases, characterized by increased levels of hydrogen peroxide and free radicals, like autoimmune chronic thyroiditis. These studies have supplied evidences indicating that Se supplementation, maximizing the antioxidant enzymes activity, may reduce the thyroid inflammatory status. Then, it may be postulated that Se could play a therapeutical role in thyroid autoimmune diseases. Despite the fact that recent studies seem to be concordant about Se beneficial effects in decreasing thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) titers and ameliorating the ultrasound echogenicity pattern, several doubts have to be still clarified, before advising Se supplementation in chronic autoimmune thyroiditis.

Keywords: selenium, thyroid, autoimmunity

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