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Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 243–255 | Cite as

Biochemical and cellular aspects of the anticancer activity of selenium

  • S. Y. Yu
  • P. Ao
  • L. M. Wang
  • S. L. Huang
  • H. C. Chen
  • X. P. Lu
  • Q. Y. Liu
Article

Abstract

Aberrant differentiation is a frequent hallmark of tumors, suggesting that modulators for differentiation and proliferation play a role in multistage carcinogenesis and that their use can also be exploited in cancer chemoprevention and therapy. We have demonstrated that selenium (Se) may be a modulator for the differentiation and proliferation of tumor cells. Evidence has been obtained that Se exerts the following effects: reversing changes of biochemical phenotypes toward normal levels, including reduction of cGMP level and cAMP-dependent protein kinase isozyme type I; increase in cAMP level and cAMP-dependent protein kinase isozyme type II, and altering membrane properties. Furthermore, we have obtained support for this hypothesis utilizing experiments on cultured human liver cell lines. It is demonstrated that Se can lead to the following changes: a. reduction of mitotic index; b. increase in the adhesiveness of cells; c. decrease in confluent saturation density and induction of an early contact inhibition; and d. decrease in tumorigenicity. For the purpose of comparison, the effects of Se on the normal counterparts was also studied. Contrary to what was observed above, there was no significant change in both biochemical and cellular aspects of normal cells treated analogously.

Index Entries

Selenium, biochemical and cellular action Selenium, cAMP, cGMP, cAMP-dependent protein kinase isozyme, Na+, K+-ATPase, membrane fluidity Se, metabolic regulation Selenium, modulation of differentiation and proliferation, human liver cancer 

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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Y. Yu
    • 1
  • P. Ao
    • 1
  • L. M. Wang
    • 1
  • S. L. Huang
    • 1
  • H. C. Chen
    • 1
  • X. P. Lu
    • 1
  • Q. Y. Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer InstituteChinese Academy of Medical SciencesBeijingPRC

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