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Supplemental Selenium Alleviates the Toxic Effects of Excessive Iodine on Thyroid


As excessive iodine intake is associated with a decrease of the activities of selenocysteine-containing enzymes, supplemental selenium was hypothesized to alleviate the toxic effects of excessive iodine. In order to verify this hypothesis, Balb/C mice were tested by giving tap water with or without potassium iodate and/or sodium selenite for 16 weeks, and the levels of iodine in urine and thyroid, the hepatic selenium level, the activities of glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx), type 1 deiodinase (D1), and thyroid peroxidase (TPO) were assayed. It had been observed in excessive iodine group that hepatic selenium, the activities of GSHPx, D1, and TPO decreased, while in the groups of 0.2 mg/L, 0.3 mg/L and 0.4 mg/L supplemental selenium, the urinary iodine increased significantly. Compared with the group of excessive iodine intake alone, supplemental selenium groups had higher activities of GSHPx, D1, and TPO. We could draw the conclusion that supplemental selenium could alleviate toxic effect of excessive iodine on thyroid. The optimal dosage of selenium ranges from 0.2 to 0.3 mg/L which can protect against thyroid hormone dysfunction induced by excessive iodine intake.

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Fig. 1



glutathione peroxidase


thyroid peroxidase


type 1 deiodinase

H2O2 :

hydrogen peroxide


normal controls


excessive iodine group

IS groups:

selenium groups

T4 :


T3 :



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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30771806) and Medical Science Foundation of Guangdong (Nos. A2008623 and A2009607).

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Correspondence to Jian Xu.

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Xu, J., Liu, XL., Yang, XF. et al. Supplemental Selenium Alleviates the Toxic Effects of Excessive Iodine on Thyroid. Biol Trace Elem Res 141, 110–118 (2011).

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  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Type 1 deiodinase
  • Glutathione peroxidase
  • Thyroid peroxidase
  • Mouse