Background: The first line of defence against oxidative stress (OS) are the endogenous antioxidants, such as the Se containing compounds. During pregnancy, OS is caused by the intense growth activity of the fetus; therefore, the placenta is a key place for the activity of many seleno-compounds such as glutathione-peroxidase and thioredoxinreductase.
Methods: This review aims to establish the link between the type of selenium compounds, their concentration, their metabolic pathways, and their role in both physiologic and pathologic processes during pregnancy.
Results: A review of current literature establishes that Se containing compounds have a strong antioxidant effect. The limits that define deviations from the normal concentration range of selenium are very close. Both selenium deficiency and excess have an effect on human health. It is well known that oxidative stress, namely the increase in the concentration of reactive species of oxygen and nitrogen (ROS and RNS) and the disruption of cellular redox homeostasis, are responsible for a number of inflammatory, degenerative, autoimmune, and neoplastic diseases. Selenium deficiency in the pregnant woman's body is considered a risk factor for immune deficiency, PIH, spontaneous abortions, and premature birth. In regard to the fetus, while there seems to be a certain protection against selenium-induced toxicity, studies have shown that selenium defficiency leads to IUGR and SGA newborns. Also, combined deficiency of selenium and iodine has been linked to endemic cretinism in newborns.
Conclusions: The antioxidant role that selenium performs through selenoproteins is major. Selenium-containing proteins, especially glutathione peroxidase, as antioxidant enzymes, are involved in regulating the ROS and RNS levels and redox balancing in almost all tissues. Among the multiple benefits of selenium in optimal concentrations in the body are stimulation and support of female fertility, as well as good development of the fetus. Hypertensive pathologies that occur in one of ten pregnant women, especially during the second part of the gestation period, are largely due to selenium deficiency.