Selenium intake in early life affects neurodevelopment and the neuroinflammatory response. Maria Antonietta Ajmone Cat - 17/01/20
Research in human population and animal models shows that some essential elements such as Selenium (Se) are particularly important during early stages of life to support development and maturation of cognitive functions. Se exerts its beneficial effect through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. Conditions of Se-intake deficiency are present in some EU countries, in particular in Eastern Europe, and could result in increased vulnerability to the toxic action of widespread environmental chemicals, such as lead (Pb).
Within the frame of the European joint programming “Healthy Diet for Healthy Life (JPI-HDHL), we aimed at understanding the mechanisms targeted by Se in the developing brain to provide indications for the design of dietary patterns, in particular during pregnancy and in childhood, supporting healthy cognitive development.
Our specific aims were: I) to characterize the effects of diets with different Se content, administered from very early stages of life, on brain neuroinflammatory profile, and II) to verify whether an optimal Selenium dietary intake can protect against lead (Pb) adverse effects.
The research network included in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro studies that mimic the human exposure scenarios derived from data sets and biological bank of the Polish Mother and Child Cohort.
By using these integrated approaches, we tested the hypothesis that inflammation and oxidative stress are key processes connecting diet, peripheral tissues, and brain development. The results of our research could contribute to ameliorate the consumption habits and health of populations suffering from partial Se deficiency, and exposed to chemical stressors.