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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Hawkes, Chris
item Alkan, Zeynep
item Lang, Kara
item King, Janet

Submitted to: Biological Trace Element Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2004
Publication Date: 4/5/2004
Citation: Hawkes, W.C., Alkan, Z., Lang, K., King, J.C. Plasma selenium decrease during pregnancy is associated with glucose intolerance. Biological Trace Element Research. Vol. 100, No. 9, 19-29, 2004.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: There is an increased requirement for selenium during pregnancy, presumably for fetal growth, which manifests as decreasing maternal blood and tissue selenium concentrations. These decreases are greater in pregnant women with gestational or pre-existing diabetes. We measured selenium status and glucose tolerance between weeks 12 and 34 of gestation in 22 pregnant women. We found that the increase in blood glucose in response to an oral glucose challenge at 12 weeks gestation and the increase in fasting glucose throughout pregnancy were each inversely correlated with plasma selenium concentration. Women with the lowest plasma glutathione peroxidase activities during pregnancy also tended to have the highest fasting glucose levels. These inverse relationships between selenium status and glucose tolerance are consistent with earlier observations and suggest a protective effect of selenium. The observation that changes in serum glucose were not accompanied by changes in insulin suggests that selenium may affect glucose metabolism downstream from insulin, or through independent energy regulatory pathways such as thyroid hormone.

Last Modified: 05/28/2017
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