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Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 239-248

Published online 2011-12-29

Selenium and vascular health

Alan A. Sneddon

Micronutrients Group, Lifelong Health Theme, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9SB, UK

Abstract: Selenium (Se) is an important dietary micronutrient required for sustaining optimal health. Se is incorporated into proteins, many of which are antioxidants that protect the body against oxidative damage. As oxidative damage may contribute to the development of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD), Se has been proposed to provide a protective role against this disease. Studies in vitro and in animals continue to provide increasing insight into the role of Se in promoting vascular health and ameliorating CVD. Se within vascular cells limits the adhesion together of such cells, an important early step in the development of vascular disease. Organic forms of Se may also afford vascular cells greater protection against oxidative challenge compared to inorganic forms. Nevertheless, current studies in humans investigating the relationship between Se and CVD have so far proved equivocal; larger randomized trials with different Se exposures in populations spanning the broad physiological Se status are needed to determine the criteria whereby Se may influence CVD outcome within different populations. Further studies are also needed to explore the effects of different Se species and the role of different selenoprotein genotypes in modifying Se status and their resultant impact on cardiovascular function.