Selenium is a trace element that provides protection against cellular damage and death. Previous research using several types of cells identified anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects for selenium. One of the diseases related to selenium is cardiovascular disease, as low selenium intake has been linked to cardiomyopathy. However, the mechanism of the cardioprotective effects of selenium is not thoroughly understood. Several studies supported the possible effects of selenium on heart cell survival. In this review, we analyzed recent research (2015-2020) on the roles and mechanism of action of selenium in cell survival and its cardioprotective effects. Furthermore, the prevention of apoptosis through both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways is discussed in this review. Signalling pathways that regulate cell survival such as the p-AMPK, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1, nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor-2, AKT/PI3K, and STAT pathways are involved in the protective effects of selenium. In addition, signaling pathways that affect heart cell survival include the AKT and STAT pathways. It also affects autophagy through the PPAR-γ pathway. These findings should facilitate further research on the cardioprotective effects of selenium.
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