Selenium repletion and glutathione peroxidase--differential effects on plasma and red blood cell enzyme activity.


Journal Article

We studied three children with chronic gastrointestinal disease who had been on intravenous hyperalimentation for periods of time ranging from 4 to 23 months. Each child was found to have low plasma and red blood cell glutathione peroxidase activity. This was associated, in the two children tested, with a marked deficiency of serum selenium. Their plasma glutathione peroxidase levels ranged between 4 and 24% of normal and their red blood cell levels ranged between 4 and 14% of normal. The intravenous alimentation was then supplemented with sodium selenite (240 micrograms Se/d). Within 4-5 weeks, the plasma glutathione peroxidase activity returned to normal. Red cell glutathione peroxidase activity remained essentially unchanged for 4-6 weeks, after which it increased over the following 3-4 months. Red cells were separated by density on a continuous Percoll-diatrizoate gradient. In normal individuals, the specific activity of glutathione peroxidase did not differ across the gradient despite a 2.5-fold difference in the specific activity of pyruvate kinase. When studied initially, glutathione peroxidase activity from the deficient patients did not change across the gradient. As the red cell enzyme activity increased with selenium repletion, the highest specific activity was initially found at the top of the gradient (youngest cells). After 3-4 months of supplementation, the specific activity became equal across the gradient. Thus, with selenium repletion, there is a rapid increase in plasma glutathione peroxidase activity, a 4-6 week lag prior to an increase in red cell enzyme activity, and the increase in red cell activity is due to newly synthesized red cells made in the presence of selenium.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cohen, HJ; Chovaniec, ME; Mistretta, D; Baker, SS

Published Date

  • April 1985

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 735 - 747

PubMed ID

  • 3920895

Pubmed Central ID

  • 3920895

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1938-3207

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9165

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/ajcn/41.4.735


  • eng