Comparison of selenium levels between diabetic patients with and without retinopathy

Selenium levels and diabetic retinopathy



diabetes mellitus, diabetic retinopathy, free radicals, microvascular complication, oxidative stress, selenium


Background/Aim: Diabetic retinopathy is a common ailment that causes visual impairment among adults, and evidence suggests that oxidative stress plays a significant role in its pathogenesis. The objective of this study was to examine the potential association between selenium deficiency and an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy among individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Methods: This study was a prospective case-control study. 115 patients with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus were included. The patients were divided into groups with and without retinopathy. No subgroups were made according to the level of retinopathy. The aim was to compare the serum selenium level of patients between groups. Therefore, other variables that may contribute to the development of retinopathy were also recorded. The duration of diabetes, medications used, and glycosylated hemoglobin levels were recorded. The retinopathy group included 47 patients, and the non-retinopathy group included 68 patients. Selenium levels were measured in plasma samples.

Results: The mean selenium level of the retinopathy group (70.11 [17.28] μg/l) was significantly lower than that of the non-retinopathy group (80.20 [19.10] μg/l) (P=0.005). The median duration of diabetes mellitus was significantly higher in the retinopathy group than in the non-retinopathy group (10 [1-25] and 6 [1-21], respectively; P=0.002). Logistic regression analyses showed that higher levels of blood selenium were independent preventive factors against the occurrence of retinopathy (OR [95% CI]: 0.965 [0.939-0. 991]). The duration of diabetes mellitus was an independent risk factor for retinopathy occurrence (OR [95% CI]: 1.131 [1.050-1.219]). One unit increase in selenium level was associated with a unit decrease in diabetic retinopathy of 0.965 (0.939-0.991).

Conclusion: Our research revealed a correlation between the duration of diabetes and the incidence of diabetic retinopathy. Furthermore, a notable difference was observed in blood selenium levels between patients with diabetic retinopathy and those without it. Specifically, patients with diabetic retinopathy had lower plasma selenium levels compared to the control group. These findings have potential implications for the treatment or prevention of diabetic retinopathy, but more research is needed to determine the efficacy of selenium supplementation for diabetic patients with or without microvascular complications. Future studies should investigate the effect of selenium deficiency on different subtypes of diabetic retinopathy and the impact of selenium supplementation in this patient population.


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Öztürk Kurt HP, Karagöz Özen DS, Genç İpek, Erdem M, Demirdağ MD. Comparison of selenium levels between diabetic patients with and without retinopathy: Selenium levels and diabetic retinopathy. J Surg Med [Internet]. 2023 Jan. 22 [cited 2024 May 25];7(1):58-62. Available from: