Low serum alpha-tocopherol and selenium are associated with accelerated apoptosis in severe sepsis

Weber, Stefan U; Lehmann, Lutz Eric; Schewe, Jens-Christian; Thiele, Jens T; Schröder, Stefan; Book, Malte; Hoeft, Andreas; Stüber, Frank (2008). Low serum alpha-tocopherol and selenium are associated with accelerated apoptosis in severe sepsis. BioFactors, 33(2), pp. 107-19. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley 10.1002/biof.5520330203

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During sepsis, a severe systemic disorder, micronutrients often are decreased. Apoptosis is regarded as an important mechanism in the development of often significant immunosuppression in the course of the disease. This study aimed to investigate alpha-tocopherol and selenium in reference to apoptosis in patients with sepsis. 16 patients were enrolled as soon as they fulfilled the criteria of severe sepsis. 10 intensive care patients without sepsis and 11 healthy volunteers served as controls. alpha-Tocopherol, selenium and nucleosomes were measured in serum. Phosphatidylserine externalization and Bcl-2 expression were analyzed in T-cells by flow cytometry. Serum alpha-tocopherol and selenium were decreased in severe sepsis but not in non-septic critically ill patients (p < 0.05). Conversely, markers of apoptosis were increased in sepsis but not in critically ill control patients: Nucleosomes were found to be elevated 3 fold in serum (p < 0.05) and phosphatidylserine was externalized on an expanded subpopulation of T-cells (p < 0.05) while Bcl-2 was expressed at lower levels (p < 0.05). The decrease of micronutrients correlated with markers of accelerated apoptosis. Accelerated apoptosis in sepsis is associated with low alpha-tocopherol and selenium. The results support the investigation of micronutrient supplementation strategies in severe sepsis.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy

UniBE Contributor:

Lehmann, Lutz Eric, Book, Malte, Stüber, Frank










Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:03

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:19

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/27302 (FactScience: 105944)

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