Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins

2013 Edition
| Editors: Robert H. Kretsinger, Vladimir N. Uversky, Eugene A. Permyakov

Selenium and the Regulation of Cell Cycle and Apoptosis

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-1533-6_457



Selenium (Se) is an essential trace mineral nutrient for humans and animals. At nutritional doses, Se functions through selenoproteins, several of which are oxidant-defense enzymes. At supranutritional doses, small Se metabolite molecules (e.g., H2Se and CH3SeH) are the major functional pools in vivo (Allan et al. 1999). The regulation of cell cycle and apoptosis is a key mechanism by which both selenoproteins and Se metabolites exert their biological function. Health effects of Se include cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, diabetes, inflammatory disorders, male fertility, and others (Brigelius-Flohe 2008; Fairweather-Tait et al. 2011).


Selenium was discovered by Berzelius in 1817, and the essentiality of Se was suggested by the early experiment that trace amounts of Se protected against liver necrosis in vitamin E deficient rats in the mid-1950s. The benefits of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research CenterGrand ForksUSA