Research: KANTOLA and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 107


KANTOLA and colleagues, Department of Chemistry, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland., have investigated the role of selenium in pregnancy.


The aim of the study was to examine transport of selenium from mother to foetus and its possible effects on the mother's zinc, copper, cadmium, and mercury levels.


216 mothers took part in the study. The associations between tissue or blood selenium content and placental cytochrome P450 enzyme activities and the newborn's birth weight were measured.


Regardless of the selenium intake of the mothers, higher concentrations were found in the cord blood than in mother's blood, reflecting an active transport process of selenium to the foetus. Elevated cadmium concentrations in the placenta, as is typically found in smokers, were associated with an increase in selenium transport from blood to placenta and therefore with a decrease of selenium levels in blood. Selenium also had correlations with copper and zinc. ECOD activity in placental tissue, mercury in mothers' hair, mothers' age, and selenium concentrations in cord blood and placental selenium all seem to have connections with xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes linked effects among mothers.


Selenium has an active role in the mother's defence systems against the toxicity of environmental pollutants.


Kantola M. Purkunen R. Kroger P. Tooming A. Juravskaja J. Pasanen M. Seppanen K. Saarikoski S. Vartiainen T. Selenium in pregnancy: is selenium an active defective ion against environmental chemical stress? Environmental Research. 96(1): 51-61, Sep 2004.

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