Selenium is an essential trace mineral and a component of selenoproteins that are involved in the production of thyroid hormones and in regulating the immune response. We aimed to explore the effect of low-dose selenium supplementation on thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO-Ab) concentration and thyroid function in pregnant women from a mild-to-moderate iodine-deficient population.
Samples and data were from a secondary analysis of Selenium in PRegnancy INTervention (SPRINT), a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study that recruited 230 women with singleton pregnancies from a UK antenatal clinic at 12 weeks of gestation. Women were randomized to receive 60 µg/day selenium or placebo until delivery. Serum thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO-Ab), thyrotropin (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4) were measured at 12, 20 and 35 weeks and thyroglobulin antibodies (Tg-Ab) at 12 weeks.
93.5 % of participants completed the study. Se supplementation had no more effect than placebo in decreasing TPO-Ab concentration or the prevalence of TPO-Ab positivity during the course of pregnancy. In women who were either TPO-Ab or Tg-Ab negative at baseline (Thy-Ab-ve), TSH increased and FT4 decreased significantly throughout gestation (P < 0.001), with no difference between treatment groups. In women who were Thy-Ab+ve at baseline, TSH tended to decrease and was lower than placebo at 35 weeks (P = 0.050). FT4 fell more on Se than placebo supplementation and was significantly lower at 35 weeks (P = 0.029).
Low-dose selenium supplementation in pregnant women with mild-to-moderate deficiency had no effect on TPO-Ab concentration, but tended to change thyroid function in Thy-Ab+ve women.