Selenium supplementation decreases nuclear factor-kappa B activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from type 2 diabetic patients

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The role of selenium in preventing cardiovascular diseases has been largely described. Oxidative stress and the subsequent activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) have been linked to the development of vascular complications. We investigated the effects of selenium supplementation in type 2 diabetic patients on several oxidative stress parameters and NF-κB activity.


We enrolled 56 type 2 diabetic patients with similar glycaemic control: 21 were supplemented by selenium (960 μg d−1, 3 months) and 27 received a placebo, and 10 nondiabetic subjects formed the control group. To determine NF-κB activation, we used an electrophoretic mobility shift assay followed by a semi-quantitative determination of NF-κB in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.


Selenium treatment resulted in a significant increase in plasma selenium and red-cell Se GSH px activity. It had no effect on lipid peroxidation measured by malone-dialdehyde (MDA) or on red-cell Cu/Zn SOD. NF-κB activity was increased by 80% in diabetic patients. In patients receiving selenium supplementation, selenium NF-κB activity was significantly reduced, reaching the same level as the nondiabetic control group.


In type 2 diabetic patients, activation of NF-κB measured in peripheral blood monocytes can be reduced by selenium supplementation, confirming its importance in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

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