Induction of differentiation and apoptosis by sodium selenite in human colonic carcinoma cells (HT29)

Cancer Lett. 1997 Jul 15;117(1):35-40. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3835(97)00212-7.


To explore the mechanism(s) by which selenium (Se) exerts its cancer chemopreventive activity, we studied the effect of selenite (0-100 microM) on cell growth, viability, differentiation, detachment, DNA fragmentation and apoptosis in human colonic carcinoma cells (HT29). Selenite (>5 microM) decreased cell growth, increased cell detachment and decreased intracellular levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), whereas >10 microM selenite induced cell differentiation and apoptosis. The chemopreventive effects of selenite may be related in part to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting from the reaction between selenite and GSH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Sodium Selenite / pharmacology*


  • Glutathione
  • Sodium Selenite