Decreased serum selenium in alcoholics--a consequence of liver dysfunction

Clinica Chimica Acta; International Journal of Clinical Chemistry
M VälimäkiR Ylikahri


The serum concentration of selenium was decreased by 17 and 48% in non-cirrhotic and cirrhotic alcoholics, respectively, as compared to healthy controls. In these alcoholics the serum selenium correlated positively with the serum albumin and plasma prothrombin time and inversely with the serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase. Abstinence from ethanol for two weeks was without effect on the serum selenium level in non-cirrhotic alcoholics and acute alcohol intake did not change the serum selenium concentration in non-alcoholic volunteers. In patients with primary biliary cirrhosis the serum concentration of selenium was similar to that in the alcoholic cirrhotics. In patients with hypoalbuminaemia of renal origin the serum selenium was normal. In conclusion our results show that the deterioration of liver function, irrespective of its aetiology, leads to the decrease in serum selenium levels. Whether a defect in removal of lipoperoxides is associated with this decrease in serum selenium concentration remains to be decided by further studies.


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Related Concepts

Alcohol Abuse
Alkaline Phosphatase
Bilirubin, (4E,15E)-Isomer
Gamma-glutamyl transferase
Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic
Biliary Cirrhosis, Secondary
Plasma Albumin

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