Selenium and selenoprotein function in brain disorders

Authors

  • Roshan Pillai,

    1. Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI, USA
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  • Jane H. Uyehara-Lock,

    1. Department of Pathology, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI, USA
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  • Frederick P. Bellinger

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI, USA
    • Address correspondence to: Frederick P. Bellinger, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, 651 Ilalo St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA. Tel: +1–808-692–1760. Fax: +1–808-692–1970. E-mail: fb@hawaii.edu

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Abstract

Selenoproteins are important for normal brain function, and decreased function of selenoproteins can lead to impaired cognitive function and neurological disorders. This review examines the possible roles of selenoproteins in Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD), and epilepsy. Selenium deficiency is associated with cognitive decline, and selenoproteins may be helpful in preventing neurodegeneration in AD. PD is associated with impaired function of glutathione peroxidase selenoenzymes. In HD, selenium deters lipid peroxidation by increasing specific glutathione peroxidases. Selenium deficiency increases risk of seizures in epilepsy, whereas supplementation may help to alleviate seizures. Further studies on the mechanisms of selenoprotein function will increase our understanding of how selenium and selenoproteins can be used in treatment and prevention of brain disorders. © 2014 IUBMB Life, 66(4):229–239, 2014

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