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Selenium: A Trace Element for a Healthy Skeleton - A Narrative Review

[ Vol. 21 , Issue. 4 ]


Fabio Vescini, Iacopo Chiodini, Andrea Palermo, Roberto Cesareo, Vincenzo De Geronimo, Alfredo Scillitani, Luigi Gennari and Alberto Falchetti*   Pages 577 - 585 ( 9 )


Inadequate serum selenium levels may delay the growth and physiological changes in bone metabolism. In humans, reduced serum selenium concentrations are associated with both increased bone turnover and reduced bone mineral density. Moreover, a reduced nutritional intake of selenium may lead to an increased risk of bone disease. Therefore, selenium is an essential nutrient playing a role in bone health, probably due to specific selenium-proteins. Some selenium-proteins have an antioxidation enzymatic activity and participate in maintaining the redox cellular balance, regulating inflammation and proliferation/differentiation of bone cells too. At least nine selenium-proteins are known to be expressed by fetal osteoblasts and appear to protect bone cells from oxidative stress at bone microenvironment. Mutations of selenium-proteins and reduced circulating levels of selenium are known to be associated with skeletal diseases such as the Kashin-Beck osteoarthropathy and postmenopausal osteoporosis. In addition, the intake of selenium appears to be inversely related to the risk of hip fragility fractures. Recent data suggest that an altered selenium state may affect bone mass even in males and selenium-proteins and selenium concentrations were positively associated with the bone mass at femoral, total and trochanteric sites. However, selenium, but not selenium-proteins, seems to be associated with femoral neck bone mass after adjustment for many bone fracture risk factors. The present review summarizes the findings of observational and interventional studies, which have been designed for investigating the relationship between selenium and bone metabolism.


Selenium, bone metabolism, bone turnover, osteoclasts, anti-oxidation activity, inflammation.


Endocrinology and Metabolism Unit, University Hospital S. Maria della Misericordia of Udine, 33100 Udine, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCS, Unit for Bone Metabolism Diseases and Diabetes & Lab of Endocrine and Metabolic Research, Milan, Unit of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Campus Bio-Medico University, 00128 Rome, Unit of Metabolic Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Santa Maria Goretti Hospital, Latina, Department of Internal Medicine-Endocrinology “Policlinico Morgagni”, Catania, Endocrinology Unit, "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza" IRCCS-Hospital, San Giovanni Rotondo, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Siena, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCS, Unit for Bone Metabolism Diseases and Diabetes & Lab of Endocrine and Metabolic Research, Milan

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