Skip to main content

Influence of Selenium on Mast Cell Mediator Release


Selenium supplementation still enhanced the immune response even in individuals who, according to current standards, would be considered as not being overtly selenium deficient. Mast cells are granulated cells that play a pivotal role in allergic reactions. In this study, we investigated the modulatory effect of sodium selenite on mediator release and degranulation of murine mast cell line (MC/9). Cells were pre-treated with selenium selenite (1, 2, 3 μg/ml) for 24 h and controls left untreated. Then, cells were sensitized overnight with anti-dinitrophenyl (DNP) IgE and challenged with DNP/HSA for degranulation induction. The histamine and prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) were measured by ELISA, and β-hexosaminidase was measured by spectrophotometery method. Selenium-treated cells revealed significant decrease in concentration of PGD2 (P = 0.019) and β-hexosaminidase (P = 0.009). In addition, a slight reduction of histamine release by the selenium-treated cells was observed, based on our intracellular and extracellular assessments. The most inhibitory effect of selenium supplementation on mediator release of MC/9 cells was obtained in the presence of 3 μg/ml of sodium selenite. The results of the present study demonstrate beneficial effects of supplemental selenium in attenuating clinical manifestations of allergy and asthma.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Kim SH, Johnson VJ, Shin TY, Sharma RP (2004) Selenium attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced oxidative stress responses through modulation of p38 MAPK and NF-kappaB signaling pathways. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 229(2):203–213

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Broome CS, McArdle F, Kyle JA, Andrews F, Lowe NM, Hart CA, Arthur JR, Jackson MJ (2004) An increase in selenium intake improves immune function and poliovirus handling in adults with marginal selenium status. Am J Clin Nutr 80(1):154–162

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Thomson CD, Wickens K, Miller J, Ingham T, Lampshire P, Epton MJ, Town GI, Pattemore P, Crane J (2012) Selenium status and allergic disease in a cohort of New Zealand children. Clin Exp Allergy 42(4):560–567. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2012.03924.x

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Matsui T, Suzuki Y, Yamashita K, Yoshimaru T, Suzuki-Karasaki M, Hayakawa S, Yamaki M, Shimizu K (2000) Diphenyleneiodonium prevents reactive oxygen species generation, tyrosine phosphorylation, and histamine release in RBL-2H3 mast cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 276(2):742–748. doi:10.1006/bbrc.2000.3545

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Amin K (2012) The role of mast cells in allergic inflammation. Respir Med 106(1):9–14. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2011.09.007

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Kadrabova J, Mad’aric A, Kovacikova Z, Podivinsky F, Ginter E, Gazdik F (1996) Selenium status is decreased in patients with intrinsic asthma. Biol Trace Elem Res 52(3):241–248. doi:10.1007/BF02789165

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Gueck T, Aschenbach JR, Fuhrmann H (2002) Influence of vitamin E on mast cell mediator release. Vet Dermatol 13(6):301–305

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Guo CH, Liu PJ, Hsia S, Chuang CJ, Chen PC (2011) Role of certain trace minerals in oxidative stress, inflammation, CD4/CD8 lymphocyte ratios and lung function in asthmatic patients. Ann Clin Biochem 48(Pt 4):344–351. doi:10.1258/acb.2011.010266

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Allan K, Devereux G (2011) Diet and asthma: nutrition implications from prevention to treatment. J Am Diet Assoc 111(2):258–268. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2010.10.048

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Huang Z, Rose AH, Hoffmann PR (2012) The role of selenium in inflammation and immunity: from molecular mechanisms to therapeutic opportunities. Antioxid Redox Signal 16(7):705–743. doi:10.1089/ars.2011.4145

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Vunta H, Belda BJ, Arner RJ, Channa Reddy C, Vanden Heuvel JP, Sandeep Prabhu K (2008) Selenium attenuates pro-inflammatory gene expression in macrophages. Mol Nutr Food Res 52(11):1316–1323. doi:10.1002/mnfr.200700346

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Brooks AC, Whelan CJ, Purcell WM (1999) Reactive oxygen species generation and histamine release by activated mast cells: modulation by nitric oxide synthase inhibition. Br J Pharmacol 128(3):585–590. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0702838

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Safaralizadeh R, Soheili ZS, Deezagi A, Pourpak Z, Samiei S, Moin M (2009) FcepsilonRI-alpha siRNA inhibits the antigen-induced activation of mast cells. Iran J Allergy Asthma Immunol 8(4):177–183

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Hoffmann PR (2012) Asthma in children and nutritional selenium get another look. Clin Exp Allergy 42(4):488–489. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2011.03949.x

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Carneiro MF, Rhoden CR, Amantea SL, Barbosa F Jr (2011) Low concentrations of selenium and zinc in nails are associated with childhood asthma. Biol Trace Elem Res 144(1–3):244–252. doi:10.1007/s12011-011-9080-3

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Wintergerst ES, Maggini S, Hornig DH (2007) Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function. Ann Nutr Metab 51(4):301–323. doi:10.1159/000107673

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This research has been supported by a grant from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (grant code 88-04-40-10238).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zahra Pourpak.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Safaralizadeh, R., Nourizadeh, M., Zare, A. et al. Influence of Selenium on Mast Cell Mediator Release. Biol Trace Elem Res 154, 299–303 (2013).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Murine mast cell line
  • Selenium
  • Histamine
  • Prostaglandin D2
  • β-Hexosaminidase