Selenium, oxidative stress, and health aspects

Mol Aspects Med. 2005 Aug-Oct;26(4-5):256-67. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2005.07.004.


Metabolic processes which generate oxidants and antioxidants are governed by genetic disposition as well as environmental factors. Changes in lifestyle, including increased environmental pollution, sun exposure, and dietary habits modify the challenge of the organism by reactive oxygen species. Defense mechanisms are reinforced by increasing dietary intake of antioxidants and micronutrients such as vitamins and selenium (Se). Se deficiency has been recognized to promote some disease states. Epidemiological findings link a lowered Se status to neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases as well as to increased cancer risk. While evidence exists to suggest that additional selenocompounds would be beneficial in some health conditions, results from future intervention trials are needed to substantiate the argument for increasing Se intake. Several pieces of the puzzle concerning the molecular mechanisms underlying the reactive oxygen species-triggered disease state and intervention by enzymatic antioxidants have been elucidated. A novel concept of protection of stromal cells against the dominating influence of tumor cells in tumor-stroma interaction by selenocompounds and other antioxidants is presented herein, which may translate into therapeutic strategies in chemoprevention of tumor invasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Selenium / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Selenium