Research Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 6, P1528-1537, June 2022

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Sodium selenite and Se-enriched yeast supplementation in atherosclerotic patients: Effects on the expression of pyroptosis-related genes and oxidative stress status


      • Cardiovascular disease prevalence has been rising more rapidly worldwide.
      • Low-grade systemic inflammation is well known as an independent cardiovascular risk factor.
      • Pyroptosis is characterized by release of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-1β and IL-18.
      • Selenium may exert beneficial actions for attenuating inflammation.


      Background and aims

      Atherosclerosis as a chronic inflammatory disorder of the arterial wall is the main leading cause of the cardiovascular disease (CVD). Caspase-dependent pyroptosis plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of CVD. Selenium (Se) is an important component of the antioxidant defense and plays a crucial role in cardiovascular health. This study aimed to investigate the effects of daily consumption of sodium selenite and Se-enriched yeast on the expression of pyroptosis-related genes, and biomarkers of oxidative stress in patients with atherosclerosis.

      Methods and results

      In this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 60 patients with atherosclerosis were recruited. Participants received 200 μg/day of sodium selenite, Se-enriched yeast, or placebo for 8 following weeks. The pyroptosis-related genes’ mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was assessed before and after the intervention. Also, the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO), and glutathione peroxidases (GPX) were measured at baseline and following the intervention. Following sodium selenite and Se-enriched yeast supplementation, the relative expression levels of TLR4, ASC, NLRP3, and NF-κB1 were significantly downregulated (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the changes in GPX were significantly increased after selenite and yeast supplementation (p < 0.05). Also, selenite and yeast consumption caused a statistically significant decrease in the change of MDA level (p < 0.05).


      In summary, these findings showed that Se supplementation may reduce inflammation through down-regulation of some pro-inflammatory genes, improving antioxidant defenses in atherosclerosis patients. Further research is required to come to a definite conclusion of selenium supplementation on the CVD risk.
      This study was registered on the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials website (identifier: RCT20110123005670N28;

      Graphical abstract


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