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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2002;16(2):123-7.

Selenium serum and urine is associated to mild asthma and atopy. The SUS study.

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Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University of Aarhus, University Park Building. 260, Vennelyst Boulevard 6, DK 8000 Aarhus C.


To examine the associations between selenium (Se) status, asthma, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), and atopy in 154 male subjects (72 with mild asthma, 41 with BHR and 41 with no respiratory symptoms) aged 18 (range 17-22) years. Each subject underwent a medical interview and FEV1 and FVC were recorded. Histamine bronchial reactivity (Yan method) was measured, skin prick test (inhalant allergens) was performed and Se in urine and serum was analysed (AOAC modified fluometric method). Se in serum 74.04 (10.58) micrograms/L (mean (SD)) was lower in subjects with asthma and the logarithm of the ratio of Se in serum (microgram/L) and urine standardised to creatinine excretion (ng/mg creatinine) 0.748 (0.096) (mean (SD)) was lower in subjects with asthma and atopy compared to subjects with no allergic symptoms 77.79 (10.16) micrograms/L and 0.808 (0.111) respectively (p < 0.05). In subjects with asthma atopy was significantly associated to urine Se 0.24 (0.73) (beta (SE)) (p < 0.05). Subjects with BHR had the same Se status as subjects with no respiratory symptoms and heavy smokers had a lower concentration of Se in serum 73.80 (9.56) micrograms/L than non-smokers 78.16 (10.74) micrograms/L (p < 0.05), Se status was associated to asthma and smoking. Measuring Se in urine might add further information to possible relations between Se status, atopy and asthma.

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