Objective: Our study aimed to investigate whether physiological doses of selenium (Se) influence the natural course of autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT).
Design and patients: A total of 76 consecutive patients (65 F, 11 M, median 43, range 15-75 years) with AIT, normal or slightly elevated TSH and fT4 within the normal range were divided into two groups: Group 0 (30 cases) was given no treatment while Group 1 (46 cases) was treated with sodium selenite 80 μg/day as a single oral dose for 12 months. Thyroperoxidase and thyroglobulin autoantibodies (TPO-Ab; Tg-Ab), TSH, fT4 and urine iodine concentrations (UIC) were measured at baseline and after 6 and 12 months of follow-up. Thyroid ultrasonography (US) was performed at each follow-up point. Echogenicity was measured by histographic analysis of gray-scale pixels (gsp) ranging from 0 = black to 255 = white.
Results: Thyroid echogenicity decreased significantly in both groups after 6 months, but after 12 months, it had changed no more in Group 1, whereas it had dropped further in Group 0. No significant variation in TPO-Ab or Tg-Ab levels was observed between the two groups after 6 months, but both values decreased significantly after 12 months in Group 1, and five patients in this group became negative for TPO-Ab. TSH and FT4 showed no significant variations in either group.
Conclusions: Dietary supplementation with physiological doses of Se seems to be effective in preventing a reduction in thyroid echogenicity after 6 months of treatment and in reducing TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab after 12 months, but does not modify TSH or FT4.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.