Selenium status and immune function in asymptomatic HIV-1 seropositive men

Emilio Mantero-Atienza, Maria Gavancho Sotomayor, Gail Shor-Posner, Mary Ann Fletcher, Howerde E. Sauberlich, Richard S. Beach, Marianna K. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Altered selenium status has been shown to be associated with impairment of immune function. The present study was conducted to characterize selenium status in HIV-1 infected individuals (n=70), and determine whether alterations in selenium status were related to immune system dysregulation. Sixty-six percent of HIV-1 seropositive homosexuals, healthy other than persistent generalized lymphadenopathy, exhibited normal plasma selenium levels (85-120 μg/L). In contrast, 23% of such HIV-1 seropositive individuals had high (>120 μg/L) and 11% had low (<85 μg/L) plasma selenium levels. Normal selenium levels appear to be optimal for maintaining immune function. Low selenium levels were associated with a reduced natural killer cytotoxic activity. On the other hand, HIV-1 infected individuals who had high levels of selenium demonstrated significantly lower levels of immunoglobulins (IgG and IgM) and a marked decrease in lymphocyte response to plant lectin phytohemagglutinin (PHA), as compared to the normal and low selenium level groups. No relationship between selenium levels and CD4, CD8 cell numbers or their ratios was observed. These data suggest that individuals with early HIV-1 infection frequently have abnormal selenium status, with both high and low selenium levels observed, and that altered plasma selenium levels, were associated with additional immune dysregulation.4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1237-1250
Number of pages14
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1991


  • HIV-1 infection
  • Immunity
  • Nutrition
  • Selenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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