Context: Selenium deficiency may play an important role in the initiation and progression of autoimmune thyroid disease.
Objective: To compare serum selenium (s-Se) values in patients with newly diagnosed autoimmune thyroid disease and controls from the Danish population.
Design and settings: S-Se was measured in triplicate by a fluorimetric method.
Participants: Patients with newly diagnosed Graves' disease (GD) (n = 97) or autoimmune overt hypothyroidism (AIH) (n = 96), euthyroid subjects with high serum levels of thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab) (TPO-Ab > 1500 U/ml, n = 92) and random controls (n = 830).
Main outcome measure: Differences in s-Se values.
Results: S-Se was lower in patients with GD than in controls (mean (SD), GD: 89·9 μg/l (18·4); controls: 98·8 μg/l (19·7), P < 0·01). This was confirmed in a multivariate logistic regression model adjusting for age, sex, mineral supplements, smoking, geographical region and time of sampling (P < 0·01). In a linear model, s-Se was similar in patients with AIH (mean (SD): 98·4 μg/l (24·9)) and in controls (P = 0·86). In the multivariate model however, s-Se was marginally lower in patients with AIH compared to controls (P = 0·04). There was no significant difference in s-Se between euthyroid participants with high TPO-Ab and random controls (linear: P = 0·97; multivariate: P = 0·27).
Conclusion: Patients with newly diagnosed GD and AIH had significantly lower s-Se compared with random controls. Our observation supports the postulated link between inadequate selenium supply and overt autoimmune thyroid disease, especially GD.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.