Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 57, Issue 13–14, pp 1823–1824 | Cite as

Introduction: The selenium conundrum

  • S. R. Stapleton


Selenium was first suspected of being an essential dietary trace element in the 1950s. We now know that indeed it is an essential biological element that serves as an integral component of several enzymes, including those in the families of deiodinases and glutathione peroxidases as well as selenoproteins P and W. The multi-author review that follows this introduction concentrates on the important biological role of selenium in enzymes as well as some of the physiological aspects of selenium as either a potential anticarcinogenic agent or insulin mimetic. What should become clear from these contributed articles is the complex and dynamic role that selenium plays in many biological processes and that the investigations in these areas are at the edge of exciting new frontiers.

Key words. Selenium; deiodinases; glutathione peroxidases; selenoprotein P; selenoprotein W; anticarcinogenic agent; insulin mimetic. 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. R. Stapleton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo (Michigan 49008, USA), Fax +1 616 387 2909, e-mail: US

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