Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version

June 2002


Published by MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY, June 2002, p. 3565–3576. Copyright © 2002, American Society for Microbiology. Permission to use.


Selenium is an essential micronutrient in the diet of many life forms, including humans and other mammals. Significant health benefits have been attributed to this element. It is rapidly becoming recognized as one of the more promising cancer chemopreventive agents (19), and there are strong indications that it has a role in reducing viral expression (4), in preventing heart disease and other cardiovascular and muscle disorders (23), and in delaying the progression of AIDS in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients (3). Additional evidence suggests that selenium may have a role in mammalian development (51), in immune function (70), in male reproduction (30), and in slowing the aging process (70).