Induction of differentiation and apoptosis by sodium selenite in human colonic carcinoma cells (HT29)

Marjory S. Stewart, Randall L. Davis, Lance P. Walsh, Barbara C. Pence

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To explore the mechanism(s) by which selenium (Se) exerts its cancer chemopreventive activity, we studied the effect of selenite (0-100 μM) on cell growth, viability, differentiation, detachment, DNA fragmentation and apoptosis in human colonic carcinoma cells (HT29). Selenite (≤ 5 μM) decreased cell growth, increased cell detachment and decreased intracellular levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), whereas ≤ 10 μM selenite induced cell differentiation and apoptosis. The chemopreventive effects of selenite may be related in part to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting from the reaction between selenite and GSH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 1997



  • Apoptosis
  • Colon cancer
  • Differentiation
  • Glutathione
  • Selenite

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