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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Does selenium reduce the risk of threatened preterm delivery associated with placental cytochrome P450-1A1 activity?

Selenium (Se), an essential trace element in human nutrition, is thought to have an important role in the prevention of oxygen damage by organic hydroperoxides generated by oxidative metabolism. Epidemiological studies have shown an association between placental cytochrome P450-1A1 ( CYP1) activity and threatened preterm delivery (TPD), and other experimental studies have shown alterations in fetal development with CYP1 activity or toxicity. The present study examined the possible protective effect of selenium on the potential toxicity of maternal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on the normal course of pregnancy. Placental CYP1 activity was used as a risk factor resulting from maternal exposure to PAHs. TPD occurrence was used as a general indicator of troubles in the normal course of pregnancy. A group of TPD patients and a group of controls were selected from 178 pregnant women attending obstetrical care in a maternity hospital. Selenium concentrations in maternal plasma were lower in the TPD group: 63.7 ng/ml (CI 95% confidence bounds = 43.6-82.2) vs 69.2 ng/ml (CI 95% confidence bounds = 49. 3-96.3) (t test, P<0.01). When placental CYP1 was induced, an association between TPD and selenium was found, with an increase of 10 ng/ml for the latter. An adjusted odds ratio of 0.55 (CI 95% confidence bounds = 0.34-0.88; chi(2), P<0.01) was estimated. When placental CYP1 was not activated, the odds ratio was estimated at 0.99 (CI 95% confidence bounds=0.95-1.03; NS). This epidemiologic finding suggests that antioxidant Se status may be a protective factor against the potential toxic effect of PAHs on the normal course of pregnancy. The downward trend that we observed supports the hypothesis that the one-electron pathway metabolism of PAHs may explain a large fraction of TPD and some preterm deliveries.[1]


  1. Does selenium reduce the risk of threatened preterm delivery associated with placental cytochrome P450-1A1 activity? Huel, G., Campagna, D., Girard, F., Moreau, T., Blot, P. Environmental research. (2000) [Pubmed]
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