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Article

Selenium Deficiency Is Associated with Mortality Risk from COVID-19

1
ATORG, Aschaffenburg Trauma and Orthopedic Research Group, Center for Orthopedics, Trauma Surgery and Sports Medicine, Hospital Aschaffenburg-Alzenau, D-63739 Aschaffenburg, Germany
2
HTRG, Heidelberg Trauma Research Group, Center for Orthopedics, Trauma Surgery and Spinal Cord Injury, Heidelberg University Hospital, D-69118 Heidelberg, Germany
3
Institute for Experimental Endocrinology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, D-13353 Berlin, Germany
4
Institute of Medical Biometry and Informatics, Heidelberg University Hospital, Im Neuenheimer Feld 130.3, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 2098; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072098
Received: 5 July 2020 / Revised: 9 July 2020 / Accepted: 12 July 2020 / Published: 16 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Minerals and Human Health)
SARS-CoV-2 infections underlie the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and are causative for a high death toll particularly among elderly subjects and those with comorbidities. Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element of high importance for human health and particularly for a well-balanced immune response. The mortality risk from a severe disease like sepsis or polytrauma is inversely related to Se status. We hypothesized that this relation also applies to COVID-19. Serum samples (n = 166) from COVID-19 patients (n = 33) were collected consecutively and analyzed for total Se by X-ray fluorescence and selenoprotein P (SELENOP) by a validated ELISA. Both biomarkers showed the expected strong correlation (r = 0.7758, p < 0.001), pointing to an insufficient Se availability for optimal selenoprotein expression. In comparison with reference data from a European cross-sectional analysis (EPIC, n = 1915), the patients showed a pronounced deficit in total serum Se (mean ± SD, 50.8 ± 15.7 vs. 84.4 ± 23.4 µg/L) and SELENOP (3.0 ± 1.4 vs. 4.3 ± 1.0 mg/L) concentrations. A Se status below the 2.5th percentile of the reference population, i.e., [Se] < 45.7 µg/L and [SELENOP] < 2.56 mg/L, was present in 43.4% and 39.2% of COVID samples, respectively. The Se status was significantly higher in samples from surviving COVID patients as compared with non-survivors (Se; 53.3 ± 16.2 vs. 40.8 ± 8.1 µg/L, SELENOP; 3.3 ± 1.3 vs. 2.1 ± 0.9 mg/L), recovering with time in survivors while remaining low or even declining in non-survivors. We conclude that Se status analysis in COVID patients provides diagnostic information. However, causality remains unknown due to the observational nature of this study. Nevertheless, the findings strengthen the notion of a relevant role of Se for COVID convalescence and support the discussion on adjuvant Se supplementation in severely diseased and Se-deficient patients. View Full-Text
Keywords: trace element; inflammation; selenoprotein P; micronutrient; COVID-19 trace element; inflammation; selenoprotein P; micronutrient; COVID-19
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MDPI and ACS Style

Moghaddam, A.; Heller, R.A.; Sun, Q.; Seelig, J.; Cherkezov, A.; Seibert, L.; Hackler, J.; Seemann, P.; Diegmann, J.; Pilz, M.; Bachmann, M.; Minich, W.B.; Schomburg, L. Selenium Deficiency Is Associated with Mortality Risk from COVID-19. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2098. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072098

AMA Style

Moghaddam A, Heller RA, Sun Q, Seelig J, Cherkezov A, Seibert L, Hackler J, Seemann P, Diegmann J, Pilz M, Bachmann M, Minich WB, Schomburg L. Selenium Deficiency Is Associated with Mortality Risk from COVID-19. Nutrients. 2020; 12(7):2098. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072098

Chicago/Turabian Style

Moghaddam, Arash, Raban A. Heller, Qian Sun, Julian Seelig, Asan Cherkezov, Linda Seibert, Julian Hackler, Petra Seemann, Joachim Diegmann, Maximilian Pilz, Manuel Bachmann, Waldemar B. Minich, and Lutz Schomburg. 2020. "Selenium Deficiency Is Associated with Mortality Risk from COVID-19" Nutrients 12, no. 7: 2098. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072098

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