Selenium and Psoriasis


Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated skin disease characterized by production of reactive oxygen species due to the activation of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), which is thought to be an important factor in inducing and maintaining psoriatic lesions. As an external factor, ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation stimulates TNF-α production and secretion by human keratinocytes in vitro and can also reach the upper dermis and suppress endothelial cells in vitro. The selenium level in psoriatic patients has been found to be lower than expected, but studies on its role in the pathogenesis of the disease are scarce. Selenium can influence immune response by changing the expression of cytokines and their receptors or by making immune cells more resistant to oxidative stress. It was reported that selenium supplementation had inhibitory effects on TNF-α levels in patients with psoriasis, but the details are not completely elucidated. Selenium compounds are also known to prevent the in vitro release of UVB-induced proinflammatory cytokines by inhibition of mRNA in human keratinocytes. In the present review, the protective role of selenium in oxidative stress, lesions, and immune system regulation in patients with psoriasis is summarized.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1



Glutathione peroxidase




Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Reactive oxygen species


Superoxide dismutase




Psoriasis area and severity index


  1. 1.

    Abbari A, Johnson-Huang LM, Krueger JG (2011) Role of the immune system and immunological circuits in psoriasis. G Ital Dermatol Venereol 146:17–30

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Ricketts JR, Rothe MJ, Grant-Kels JM (2010) Nutrition and psoriasis. Clin Dermatol 28:615–626

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Serwin AB, Wasowicz W, Gromadziska J, Chodynicka B (2003) Selenium status in psoriasis and its relationship with alcohol consumption. Nutrition 19:301–304

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Kovacic P, Somanathan R (2008) Unifying mechanism for eye toxicity: electron transfer, reactive oxygen species, antioxidant benefits, cell signaling and cell membranes. Cell Membr Free Radic Res 2:56–69

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Okayama Y (2005) Oxidative stress in allergic and inflammatory skin diseases. Curr Drug Targets Inflamm Allergy 4:517–519

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Kökçam I, Naziroğlu M (1999) Antioxidants and lipid peroxidation status in the blood of patients with psoriasis. Clin Chim Acta 289:23–31

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Kökçam İ, Nazıroğlu M, Şimşek H, Aydilek N, Uyar B (1999) Antioxidant and lipid peroxidation status in the blood of patients with active vitiligo. Dermatosen Beruf Umwelt 47:102–105

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Naziroğlu M, Kökçam I, Simşek H, Karakilçik AZ (2003) Lipid peroxidation and antioxidants in plasma and red blood cells from patients with pemphigus vulgaris. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol 14:31–42

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Abdel Fattah NS, Ebrahim AA, El Okda ES (2011) Lipid peroxidation/antioxidant activity in patients with alopecia areata. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 25:403–408

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Sanmartin C, Plano D, Font M, Palop JA (2011) Selenium and clinical trials: new therapeutic evidence for multiple diseases. Curr Med Chem 18:4635–4650

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Nazıroglu M (2009) Role of selenium on calcium signaling and oxidative stress-induced selenium compounds have molecular pathways in epilepsy. Neurochem Res 34:2181–2191

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Stewart MS, Spallholz JE, Neldner KH, Pence BC (1999) Disparate abilities to impose oxidative stress and induce apoptosis. Free Radic Biol Med 26:42–48

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Song H, Kim J, Lee HK, Park HJ, Nam J, Park GB, Kim YS, Cho D, Hur DY (2011) Selenium inhibits migration of murine melanoma cells via down-modulation of IL-18 expression. Int Immunopharmacol 11:2208–2213

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Saral Y, Uyar B, Ayar A, Naziroglu M (2002) Protective effects of topical alpha-tocopherol acetate on UVB irradiation in guinea pigs: importance of free radicals. Physiol Res 51:285–290

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Nathan C, Xie OW (1994) Regulation of biosynthesis of nitric oxide. J Biol Chem 269:13725–13728

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Rotruck JT, Pope AL, Ganther HE, Swanson AB, Hafeman DG, Hoekstra WG (1973) Selenium: biochemical role as a component of glutathione peroxidase. Science 179:588–590

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Harvima RJ, Jägerroos H, Kajander EO et al (1993) Screening of effects of selenomethionine-enriched yeast supplementation on various immunological and chemical parameters of skin and blood in psoriatic patients. Acta Derm Venereol 73:88–91

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Serwin AB, Chodynicka B, Wasowicz W, Gromadzińska J (1999) Selenium nutritional status and the course of psoriasis. Pol Merkur Lekarski 6:263–265

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Sahin M, Uğuz AC, Demirkan H, Nazıroğlu M (2011) Colchicine modulates oxidative stress in serum and leucocytes from remission patients with family Mediterranean fever through regulation of Ca² + release and the antioxidant system. J Membr Biol 240:55–62

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Erturan I, Nazıroğlu M, Akkaya VB (2012) Isotretinoin treatment induces oxidative toxicity in blood of patients with acne vulgaris: a clinical pilot study. Cell Biochem Funct (Epub of print)

  21. 21.

    Nazıroğlu M (2012) Molecular role of catalase on oxidative stress-induced Ca+2 signaling and TRP cation channel activation in nervous system. J Recept Signal Transduct Res 32:134–141

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Sibille Y, Reynolds HY (1990) Macrophages and polymorphonuclear neutrophils in lung defense and injury. Am Rev Respir Dis 141:471–501

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Weening RS, Roos D, Loos JA (1974) Oxygen consumption of phagocytizing cells in human leukocyte and granulocyte preparations: a comparative study. J Lab Clin Med 83:570–577

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Bréchard S, Tschirhart EJ (2008) Regulation of superoxide production in neutrophils: role of calcium influx. J Leukoc Biol 84:1223–1237

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Whiteman M, Rose P, Halliwell B (2003) Inhibition of hypochlorous acid-induced oxidative reactions by nitrite: is nitrite an antioxidant. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 303:1217–1224

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Halliwell B (2006) Phagocyte-derived reactive species: salvation or suicide. Trends Biochem Sci 31:509–515

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Azzini M, Girelli D, Oliveri O et al (1995) Fatty acids and antioxidant micronutrients in psoriatic arthritis. J Rheumatol 22:103–108

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Serwin AB, Wasowicz W, Gromadzinska J, Chodynicka B (2003) Selenium status in psoriasis and its relationship with the severity of the disease. Nutrition 19:301–304

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Pinton J, Friden H, Kettaneh-Wold N, Wold S, Dreno B, Richard A, Bieber T (1995) Clinical and biological effects of balneotherapy with selenium-rich spa water in patients with psoriasis vulgaris. Br J Derm 133:344–347

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Brozmanová J, Mániková D, Vlčková V, Chovanec M (2010) Selenium: a double-edged sword for defense and offence in cancer. Arch Toxicol 84:919–938

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Pighetti GM, Eskew ML, Reddy CC, Sordillo LM (1998) Selenium and vitamin E deficiency impair transferrin receptor internalization but not IL-2, IL-2 receptor, or transferrin receptor expression. J Leukoc Biol 63:131–137

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Celerier P, Richard A, Litoux P, Dreno B (1995) Modulatory effects of selenium and strontium salts on keratinocyte-derived inflammatory cytokines. Arch Dermatol Res 287:680–682

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Michaelson G, Berne B, Carlmark B, Strand A (1989) Selenium in whole blood and plasma is decreased in patients with moderate and severe psoriasis. Acta Derm Venereol 69:29–34

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Serwin AB, Mysliwiec H, Hukalowic K et al (2003) Soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor type 1 during selenium supplementation in psoriasis patients. Nutrition 19:847–850

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    DeSilva B, Beckett GJ, McLean S, Arthur JR, Hunter JA, Norval M, McKenzie RC (2007) Lack of effect of oral selenite on p53 associated gene expression during TL01 therapy of psoriasis patients. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 23:98–100

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Kadry D, Rashed L (2012) Plasma and tissue osteopontin in relation to plasma selenium in patients with psoriasis. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 26:66–70

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Serwin AB, Wasowicz W, Chodynicka B (2006) Selenium supplementation, soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor type 1, and C-reactive protein during psoriasis therapy with narrowband ultraviolet B. Nutrition 22:860–864

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    McKenzie RC (2000) Selenium ultraviolet radiation and the skin. Clin Exp Dermatol 25:631–636

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Rafferty TS, Walker C, Hunter JAA, Beckett GJ, McKenzie RC (2002) Inhibition of ultraviolet B radiation-induced interleukin 10 expression in murine keratinocytes by selenium compounds. Br J Dermatol 146:485–489

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Rocha-Pereira P, Santos-Silva A, Rebelo I, Figueiredo A, Quintanilha A, Teixeira F (2004) The inflammatory response in mild and in severe psoriasis. Br J Dermatol 150:917–928

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Xun P, Liu K, Morris JS et al (2010) Associations of toenail selenium levels with inflammatory biomarkers of fibrinogen, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6: the CARDIA Trace Element Study. Am J Epidemiol 171:793–800

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    McLoone P, Man I, Yule S et al (2004) Whole-body UVB (TL-01) or UVA-1 irradiation does not alter the levels of immunomodulatory cytokines in the serum of human volunteers. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 20:76–80

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Donadini A, Fiora C, Regazzini R, Perini D, Minoia C (1992) Selenium plasma levels in psoriasis. Clin Exp Dermatol 17:214–216

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Fairris GM, Perkins PJ, Lawson AD, Blake GM (1988) The pharmacokinetics of selenium in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. 68:434–436

  45. 45.

    Clark LC, Hixson LJ, Combs GF Jr, Reid ME, Turnbull BW, Sampliner RE (1993) Plasma selenium concentration predicts the prevalence of colorectal adenomatous polyps. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2:41–46

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Pastore S, Mariani V, Lulli D, et al (2011) Glutathione peroxidase activity in the blood cells of psoriatic patients correlates with their responsiveness to Efalizumab. 45:585–599

  47. 47.

    Fairris GM, Lloyd B, Hinks L, Perkins PJ, Clayton BE (1989) The effect of supplementation with selenium and vitamin E in psoriasis. Ann Clin Biochem 26:83–88

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. 48.

    Kharaeva Z, Gostova E, De Luca C, Raskovic D, Korkina L (2009) Clinical and biochemical effects of coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, and selenium supplementation to psoriasis patients. Nutrition 25:295–302

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


There is no financial support in the current study.

Conflict of Interest


Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mustafa Nazıroğlu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nazıroğlu, M., Yıldız, K., Tamtürk, B. et al. Selenium and Psoriasis. Biol Trace Elem Res 150, 3–9 (2012).

Download citation


  • Selenium
  • Selenoprotein P
  • Tumor necrosis factor alpha
  • Oxidative stress
  • Skin
  • Psoriasis