Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 24, Issue 2–3, pp 147–152 | Cite as

Selenium concentrations in the human thyroid gland

  • Jan Aaseth
  • Harald Frey
  • Eystein Glattre
  • Gunnar Norheim
  • Jetmund Ringstad
  • Yngvar Thomassen


Recently, we found that prediagnostic serum selenium concentration was significantly lower for cases developing thyroid cancer (n=43) than for controls. We assumed that redistribution of serum selenium into the affected tissue took place in the prediagnostic period. The present study was carried out to determine the physiological concentration of selenium in the thyroid, since very few data are available in the literature.

The concentrations of selenium in the thyroid (n=45) and liver samples from Norwegians who had died because of acute illness or accidents were determined by hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry.

The mean selenium concentration was found to be 0.72±0.44 μg/g in the thyroid and 0.45±0.11 μg/g in the liver tissue. The surprisingly high concentration of selenium in apparently normal thyroids indicates that selenium has important functions in this organ. The remarkably broad range, together with the observation that no significant correlation exists between thyroid and liver concentrations, suggest that factors other than the selenium status are important determinants for the selenium concentration in the thyroid gland. This observation is consistent with our hypothesis that in carcinogenesis, prediagnostic processes influence the serum-/thyroid-ratio of selenium.

Index Entries

Selenium thyroid gland liver carcinogenesis 


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Copyright information

© The Humana Press Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Aaseth
    • 1
  • Harald Frey
    • 2
  • Eystein Glattre
    • 3
  • Gunnar Norheim
    • 4
  • Jetmund Ringstad
    • 1
  • Yngvar Thomassen
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Occupational MedicineN-9012 University HospitalTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Medical DepartmentAker HospitalOsloNorway
  3. 3.The Norwegian Cancer RegistryOsloNorway
  4. 4.National Veterinary InstituteOsloNorway
  5. 5.National Institute of Occupational HealthOsloNorway

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