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Am J Med Sci. 1987 Jan;293(1):6-12.

Diminished blood selenium levels in renal failure patients on dialysis: correlations with nutritional status.


Selenium deficiency has been implicated as contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease, skeletal muscle myopathy, anemia, increased cancer risk, and deranged immune function. Since these problems may also be associated with renal failure, and the kidney plays an important role in selenium homeostasis, we measured selenium and compared it with nutritional status in 24 stable hemodialysis patients, 12 chronic intermittent peritoneal dialysis patients, and 29 healthy controls. Whole blood and plasma selenium was determined by a spectrofluorometric method. For whole blood the mean (+/- SD) selenium levels were 0.11 +/- 0.02 micrograms/ml in controls vs. 0.071 +/- 0.01 micrograms/ml in hemodialysis cases and 0.052 +/- 0.006 micrograms/ml in peritoneal dialysis (p less than 0.005). Significant decreases were seen also for plasma and red blood cell selenium in all groups respectively. Pre- and postdialysis plasma and whole blood selenium levels showed no significant changes in both dialysis groups. However, predialysis residual peritoneal fluid did contain selenium (0.029 +/- 0.005 micrograms/ml). Some evidence of protein-energy undernutrition was noted in both dialysis groups compared with controls. However, no significant differences in nutritional parameters were noted between hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients. When all groups were combined, significant correlations were found between whole blood selenium and serum albumin (r = 0.61; p less than 0.001), triceps skin fold in females (r = 0.62; p less than 0.001), and midarm muscle circumference in males (r = 0.71; p less than 0.001). We conclude that low blood selenium is present in renal failure patients undergoing hemodialysis. This abnormality is even greater in peritoneal dialysis cases.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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