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Acta Physiol Hung. 2008 Jun;95(2):187-94. doi: 10.1556/APhysiol.95.2008.2.3.

Does selenium exert cardioprotective effects against oxidative stress in myocardial ischemia?

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Coeur & Nutrition, UMR 5525, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Grenoble, Bâtiment Jean Roget, Domaine de la Merci, 38706 La Tronche, France.


In the mid-1960s, a small number of scientists postulated the role of oxidative stress and oxygen-derived free radicals in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying ischemic heart disease. However, because of the technical difficulty of measuring free radicals and quantitating oxidative damage, it was very difficult to prove that free radicals could contribute to cell pathology. The role of oxidative stress in biological systems was not definitely recognized until the early 1980s when measurement of short-lived oxygen-derived reactive species was made possible by the advent of sophisticated techniques such as EPR spectroscopy or fluorescent probes. These enabled both the study of free radical biochemistry and the acquisition of useful information about the nature and consequences of free radical-induced protein and lipid oxidation. The hypothesis that reactive oxygen species mediate cellular damage produced upon reperfusion of ischemic myocardium has gained considerable support during the past 10-15 years. Several experimental studies indicated that the administration of antioxidant enzymes or non-enzymatic antioxidants offers a significant degree of protection against ischemic damage, improving functional recovery and reducing morphological alterations to cardiomyocytes. In this context, selenium, as an essential component of glutathione peroxidase, plays a critical role in protecting aerobic tissues from oxygen radical-initiated cell injury.

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