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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Sep 27. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-01713. [Epub ahead of print]

Role of Selenium Intake for Risk and Development of Hyperthyroidism.

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Department of Endocrinology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China.
Institut für Experimentelle Endokrinologie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, CVK, Berlin, Germany.
Xi'an Jiaotong University Health Science Center; Xi'an, China.
Department of Endocrinology and International Medical Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, PR China.
BioBank, the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China.



To investigate the importance of dietary Se supply for hyperthyroidism.


We performed a more in-depth analysis of a large cross-sectional study of 6152 participants from two counties within the Shaanxi Province, China, which are characterized by different habitual Se intakes, and investigated the effects of different dietary Se supply (0.02, 0.18, 0.6 or 2.0 ppm Se) on disease development in a mouse model of GD.


The cross-sectional study revealed a comparable prevalence of hyperthyroidism irrespective of Se intake in both counties. However, an unexpected sex-specific difference was noted, and Se deficiency may constitute risk factor for hyperthyroidism particularly in males. In the mouse model, pathological thyroid morphology was affected, and higher Se intakes exerted some protecting effects on the pathological distortion. Circulating thyroid hormone levels, malondialdehyde concentrations, total antioxidant capacity or the titer of GD-causing TSH receptor autoantibodies (TRAb) were not affected by Se. Expression analysis of transcripts in spleen indicated regulatory effects on genes implicated in the immune response, erythropoiesis and oxygen status. However, the humoral immune response including the ratio of CD4/CD8 or Th1/Th2 cells, and the concentration of Treg cells were similar between the experimental groups, despite their varying Se intakes.


Our data highlight a novel sexual dimorphism for the interaction of Se and thyroid disease risk in humans, and indicate local protective effects of Se on thyroid gland integrity which appear not to be reflected in the circulating biomarkers tested.


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