Serum selenium concentration and disease progress in patients with HIV infection.


Cirelli A, Ciardi M, de Simone C




Clin Biochem


The selenium concentration in the serum of 67 patients with HIV infection was measured to determine whether selenium deficiency occurred in the different stages of the disease. In the first stage of the study, patients were divided into four groups: symptom-free subjects, PGL (persistent generalized lymphadenopathy), ARC (AIDS related complex), and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Selenium concentrations were normal in HIV antibody positive symptom- free subjects (1.18 +/- 0.27 mumol/L) and lower than normal in the other three groups (p less than 0.001). There was a significant correlation (p less than 0.001) between selenium levels and values of hemoglobin and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Selenium deficiency was in no case associated with a lack of zinc in serum (also determined in all patients). In the second stage of the study, 12 patients were treated for a period of two months with low doses of selenium to assess whether such supplementation was able to restore their impaired immunological and hematological functions. The therapy increased serum selenium concentrations (from 0.77 +/- 0.23 to 1.44 +/- 0.41 mumol/L) and symptomatic improvements were noted. However, no changes were observed in the immunological and hematological parameters.