Both maximal expression of selenoproteins and selenoprotein deficiency can promote development of type 2 diabetes-like phenotype in mice

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Jun 15;14(12):2327-36. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3526. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element in mammals that has been shown to exert its function through selenoproteins. Whereas optimal levels of Se in the diet have important health benefits, a recent clinical trial has suggested that supplemental intake of Se above the adequate level potentially may raise the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the molecular mechanisms for the effect of dietary Se on the development of this disease are not understood. In the present study, we examined the contribution of selenoproteins to increased risk of developing diabetes using animal models. C57BL/6J mice (n=6-7 per group) were fed either Se-deficient Torula yeast-based diet or diets supplemented with 0.1 and 0.4 parts per million Se. Our data show that mice maintained on an Se-supplemented diet develop hyperinsulinemia and have decreased insulin sensitivity. These effects are accompanied by elevated expression of a selective group of selenoproteins. We also observed that reduced synthesis of these selenoproteins caused by overexpression of an i(6)A(-) mutant selenocysteine tRNA promotes glucose intolerance and leads to a diabetes-like phenotype. These findings indicate that both high expression of selenoproteins and selenoprotein deficiency may dysregulate glucose homeostasis and suggest a role for selenoproteins in development of diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / genetics
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phenotype*
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific / metabolism
  • Selenium / administration & dosage
  • Selenium / metabolism
  • Selenoproteins / deficiency*
  • Selenoproteins / genetics
  • Selenoproteins / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acid-Specific
  • Selenoproteins
  • tRNA, selenocysteine-
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Selenium