Sexual dimorphism in selenium deficiency is associated with metabolic syndrome and prevalence of heart disease

Eerde H. Weening, Ali A. Al-Mubarak, Martin M. Dokter, Kenneth Dickstein, Chim C. Lang, Leong L. Ng, Marco Metra, Dirk J. van Veldhuisen, Daan J. Touw, Rudolf A. de Boer, Ron T. Gansevoort, Adriaan A. Voors, Stephan J.L. Bakker, Peter van der Meer, Nils Bomer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Serum selenium levels have been associated with the incidence of heart failure (HF) and signs of the metabolic syndrome. In addition, notable differences have been reported between males and females in food intake and micronutrient metabolism, possibly explaining different health outcomes. Objective: Our objective was to elucidate sex-specific, cross-sectional phenotypic differences in the association of serum selenium concentrations with parameters of metabolic syndrome and HF. Methods: We investigated data from individuals from a community-based cohort (PREVEND; N = 4288) and heart failure cohort (BIOSTAT-CHF; N = 1994). In both populations, cross-sectional analyses were performed for potential interaction (p < 0.1) between sex and serum selenium with overlapping signs and clinical parameters of the metabolic syndrome and HF. Results: Baseline selenium levels of the total cohort were similar between PREVEND (85.7 μg/L) and BIOSTAT-CHF (89.1 μg/L). Females with lower selenium levels had a higher BMI and increased prevalence of diabetes than females with higher selenium, in both PREVEND (pinteraction < 0.001; pinteraction = 0.040, resp.) and BIOSTAT-CHF (pinteraction = 0.021; pinteraction = 0.024, resp.), while opposite associations were observed for males. Additionally, in females, but not in males, lower selenium was associated with a higher prevalence of myocardial infarction (MI) in PREVEND (pinteraction = 0.021) and BIOSTAT-CHF (pinteraction = 0.084). Conclusion: Lower selenium was associated with a higher BMI and increased prevalence of diabetes in females, opposite to males, and was also associated with more MI in females. Interventional studies are needed to validate this observation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Dutch Research Council, through the Open Competition ENW-KLEIN Grant [OCENW.KLEIN.483 to N.B.] and the Junior Scientific Masterclass-MD/PhD program of the UMCG [to A.A.A.]. The measurements of serum selenium in PREVEND were partly supported by Pharma Nord [to N.B.]. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


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