Keshan Disease and Selenium Status of Populations in China

  • Yiming Xia
  • Jianhua Piao
  • Kristina E. Hill
  • Raymond F. Burk


Keshan disease is a cardiomyopathy that occurs in certain regions of China. Named for Keshan County in Heilongjiang Province, where it was rampant in 1935 (Apei, 1937), the disease has also been recognized in many other locations. An inscription on a stone pillar in Huanglong County of Shaanxi Province suggests that Keshan disease occurred there in 1812 and thus is not a new condition (Shan and Xue, 1987). Keshan disease has been a serious public health problem in China. Because of this, a number of research institutes and task groups were set up in the 1960s to study the disease and to work toward its prevention. These groups established that selenium deficiency is an underlying cause of Keshan disease and that selenium supplementation can prevent it. Selenium supplementation and an increasing content of selenium in the diet have reduced the incidence of the disease to low levels, and it is no longer a major public health problem. However, the pathogenesis of Keshan disease has never been elucidated.


Glutathione Peroxidase Activity Selenium Deficiency Selenium Content Selenium Supplementation Selenium Intake 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yiming Xia
  • Jianhua Piao
  • Kristina E. Hill
  • Raymond F. Burk

There are no affiliations available

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