Table of Contents
HPB Surgery
Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 207-216

Selenium Deficiency and Chronic Pancreatitis: Disease Mechanism and Potential for Therapy

University Department of Surgery, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF4 4XN, United Kingdom

Received 13 August 1998; Accepted 1 November 1998

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: It has been suggested that antioxidant deficiency may play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis. The aim of this review was to analyse the evidence for this relationship and to consider the role of antioxidant supplementation in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis.

Methods: Medline review of all English language publications for the years 1966–1998.

Results and Conclusions: There is evidence that patients with chronic pancreatitis have enhanced levels of free radical production, cytochrome P450 induction and antioxidant deficiencies, in particular selenium. The limited published literature in this field suggests that dietary antioxidant supplementation may ameliorate the pain associated with chronic pancreatitis, diminish the frequency of acute exacerbations and reduce the requirement for pancreatic surgery. These findings await confirmation by a large prospective placebo-controlled study.