The role of selenium in thyroid gland pathophysiology
It is now assumed that proper functioning of the thyroid gland (TG), beside iodine, requires also a number of elements, including selenium, iron, zinc, copper, and calcium. In many cases, only an adequate supply of one of these microelements (e.g. iodine) may reveal symptoms resulting from deficits of other microelements (e.g. iron or selenium). Selenium is accounted to the trace elements of key importance for homeostasis of the human system, in particular, for the proper functioning of the immune system and the TG. Results of epidemiological studies have demonstrated that selenium deficit may affect as many as one billion people in many countries all over the world. A proper sequence of particular supplementations is also worth emphasising for the significant correlations among the supplemented microelements. For example, it has been demonstrated that an excessive supplementation of selenium may enhance the effects of iodine deficit in endemic regions, while proper supplementation of selenium in studied animals may alleviate the consequences of iodine excess, preventing destructive-inflammatory lesions in the TG. This paper is a summary of the current knowledge on the role of selenium in the functionality of the TG.