Research: BARTFAY and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 41


BARTFAY and colleagues, Centre for Cardiovascular Research, Toronto Hospital, Ontario Canada review the literature (47 references) and set out to determine whether vitamin E and selenium supplementation can improve myocardial antioxidant defences in mouse hearts overloaded with iron.



Iron dextran was injected (5 mg intraperitoneally/mouse) daily into B6D2F1 mice (n = 20). The mice were also randomly assigned to simultaneously receive either: 1) vitamin E, 40 mg intraperitoneally, n = 5; 2) selenium (sodium selenite, 1 part/million orally, n = 5); 3) both vitamin E and selenium, n = 5, or 4) iron-only treatment, n = 5. In a subsequent study, 15 B6D2F1 mice were randomly assigned to receive daily injections of iron (n = 5), or iron plus combined antioxidants (vitamin E and selenium, n = 5, or to act as controls, n = 5 for 4 weeks.


Compared to iron-only treated or single supplemented mice, there were significantly greater concentrations of heart selenium and glutathione peroxidase activity in mice supplemented with both vitamin E and selenium. Additionally, compared to mice receiving iron-only treatment, there were significantly lower concentrations of iron found in controls and in those receiving combined iron and antioxidant treatment of vitamin E and selenium.


Vitamin E and selenium act synergistically within the myocardium to provide key antioxidant defences in iron-overload states, including increased concentrations of selenium, increased glutathione peroxidase activity and decreased iron concentrations.


Bartfay WJ et al. The synergistic effects of vitamin E and selenium in iron-overloaded mouse hearts. Can J Cardiol 14(7): 937-41 Jul 1998.

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