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Hormones

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 183–196 | Cite as

Selenoproteins in human body: focus on thyroid pathophysiology

  • Ana Valea
  • Carmen Emanuela Georgescu
Review Article

Abstract

Selenium (Se) has a multilevel, complex and dynamic effect on the human body as a major component of selenocysteine, incorporated into selenoproteins, which include the selenocysteine-containing enzymes iodothyronine deiodinases. At the thyroid level, these proteins play an essential role in antioxidant protection and hormone metabolism. This is a narrative review based on PubMed/Medline database research regarding thyroid physiology and conditions with Se and Se-protein interferences. In humans, Se-dependent enzyme functions are best expressed through optimal Se intake, although there is gap in our knowledge concerning the precise mechanisms underlying the interrelation. There is a good level of evidence linking low serum Se to autoimmune thyroid diseases and, to a lesser extent, differentiated thyroid cancer. However, when it comes to routine supplementation, the results are heterogeneous, except in the case of mild Graves’ orbitopathy. Autoimmune hypothyroidism is associated with a state of higher oxidative stress, but not all studies found an improvement of thyroid function after Se was introduced as antioxidant support. Meanwhile, no routine supplementation is recommended. Low Se intake is correlated with an increased risk of developing antithyroid antibodies, its supplementation decreasing their titres; there is also a potential reduction in levothyroxine replacement dose required for hypothyroidism and/or the possibility that it prevents progression of subclinical hypothyroidism, although not all studies agree. In thyroid-associated orbitopathy, euthyroidism is more rapidly achieved if the micronutrient is added to traditional drugs, while controls appear to benefit from the microelement only if they are deficient; thus, a basal assay of Se appears advisable to better select patients who need substitution. Clearly, further Se status biomarkers are required. Future introduction of individual supplementation algorithms based on baseline micronutrient levels, underlying or at-risk clinical conditions, and perhaps selenoprotein gene polymorphisms is envisaged.

Keywords

Selenium Selenoproteins Selenocysteine Iodothyronine deiodinases Chronic autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis Differentiated thyroid cancer Graves’ disease Orbitopathy Malignancy 

Abbreviations

CHEK2 gene

Checkpoint kinase

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic Acid

DIO

Iodothyronine deiodinases

EFSec

Elongation factor of Sec

GPx

Glutathione peroxidases

MSRB1

Methionine-R-sulfoxide reductase 1

NIS

Sodium-iodide symporter

PACAP

Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide

PCR

Polymerase chain reaction

PCR-RFLP

Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism

Pax8

Paired box 8

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

Selenium

Se

Se-protein

Selenoprotein

Sec

Selenocysteine

SECIS

Selenocysteine-insertion sequence

SBP2

SECIS Binding protein

SELENOP1 or SePP1

Selenoprotein P1

SEPN1

Selenoprotein N

SELENOS

Selenoprotein S

SEPSECS

Selenocysteine synthase

SNP

Single nucleotide polymorphism

SEPHS2

Selenophosphate synthetase 2

TXNRD

Thioredoxin reductases

TXNRD2

Thioredoxin reductase 2

T4

Thyroxine

T3

Triiodothyronine

TSH

Thyroid stimulating hormone

TRAb

TSH receptor autoantibodies

TPOAb

Antithyroperoxidase antibody

TgAb

Antithyroglobulin antibodies

ThyPRO

Thyroid patient-reported outcome

TXNRD1

Thioredoxin/thioredoxin reductase-1

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Hellenic Endocrine Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Valea
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Carmen Emanuela Georgescu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyIuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and PharmacyCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Endocrinology ClinicClinical County HospitalCluj-NapocaRomania
  3. 3.Cluj-NapocaRomania

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