Selenium Status, Thyroid Volume, and Multiple Nodule Formation in an Area With Mild Iodine Deficiency

Eur J Endocrinol. 2011 Apr;164(4):585-90. doi: 10.1530/EJE-10-1026. Epub 2011 Jan 17.


Objective: The objective was to study the associations between serum selenium concentration and thyroid volume, as well as the association between serum selenium concentration and risk for an enlarged thyroid gland in an area with mild iodine deficiency before and after iodine fortification was introduced. Another objective was to examine the association between serum selenium concentration and prevalence of thyroid nodules.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: We studied participants of two similar cross-sectional studies carried out before (1997-1998, n=405) and after (2004-2005, n=400) introduction of iodine fortification. Serum selenium concentration and urinary iodine were measured, and the thyroid gland was examined by ultrasonography in the same subjects. Associations between serum selenium concentration and thyroid parameters were examined in multiple linear regression models or logistic regression models.

Results: Serum selenium concentration was found to be significantly, negatively associated with thyroid volume (P=0.006), and a low selenium status significantly increased the risk for thyroid enlargement (P=0.007). Furthermore, low serum selenium status had a tendency to increase the risk for development of multiple nodules (P=0.087).

Conclusions: Low serum selenium concentration was associated with a larger thyroid volume and a higher prevalence of thyroid enlargement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine / deficiency*
  • Iodine / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Selenium / blood*
  • Thyroid Diseases / blood*
  • Thyroid Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Gland / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism*
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult


  • Iodine
  • Selenium