Damage to heart muscle from insufficient blood supply during cardiac arrest and reperfusion injury after blood flow is restored can be reduced by nearly 90 percent if selenide, a form of the essential nutrient selenium, is administered intravenously in the wake of the attack, according to a new preclinical study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Mark Roth, Ph.D., and colleagues in the Fred Hutch Basic Sciences Division have published their findings online on April 6, 2015 in Critical Care Medicine. The article is titled “"Selenide Targets to Reperfusing Tissue and Protects it From Injury.” "We found that administration of selenide after the heart has been deprived of blood flow and before blood flow is restored significantly protects the heart tissue in a mouse model of acute myocardial infarction and reperfusion injury," Dr. Roth said. Ischemia, or insufficient blood supply, as occurs during a heart attack or stroke, causes tissues to become starved of oxygen. In the highly oxygenated tissues of the heart and brain, ischemia can cause irreversible damage in as little as three to four minutes at normal body temperature. Reperfusion injury is the tissue damage caused when blood supply returns to the tissue after a period of ischemia or lack of oxygen. The absence of oxygen and nutrients from blood during the ischemic period creates a condition in which the restoration of circulation results in inflammation and oxidative damage through the induction of oxidative stress rather than restoration of normal function. Using two different mouse models of ischemia reperfusion injury, Dr. Roth and colleagues found that selenium is specifically taken up by injured tissues following temporary loss of blood flow while blood selenium levels simultaneously decrease.
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