Systems Biology of Selenium and Complex Disease

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2019 Nov;192(1):38-50. doi: 10.1007/s12011-019-01781-9. Epub 2019 Jun 24.


Selenium is an essential trace element for maintenance of overall health, whose deficiency and dyshomeostasis have been linked to a variety of diseases and disorders. The majority of previous researches focused on characterization of genes encoding selenoproteins or proteins involved in selenium metabolism as well as their functions. Many studies in humans also investigated the relationship between selenium and complex diseases, but their results have been inconsistent. In recent years, systems biology and "-omics" approaches have been widely used to study complex and global variations of selenium metabolism and function in physiological and different pathological conditions. The present paper reviews recent progress in large-scale and systematic analyses of the relationship between selenium status or selenoproteins and several complex diseases, mainly including population-based cohort studies and meta-analyses, genetic association studies, and some other omics-based studies. Advances in ionomics and its application in studying the interaction between selenium and other trace elements in human health and diseases are also discussed.

Keywords: Complex disease; Ionome; Selenium; Selenoprotein; Systems biology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism*
  • Selenium / metabolism*
  • Selenoproteins / metabolism*
  • Systems Biology*


  • Selenoproteins
  • Selenium