HUST Uncovers New Applications and Mechanism for Selenium

        On October 31st, the team led by Prof. Zhang Shengming in the Center for Advanced Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at HUST published a paper online in the leading journal American Chemical Society Nano (ACS Nano). The paper is entitled In Vitro and In Vivo Mechanism of Bone Tumor Inhibition by Selenium-doped Bone Mineral Nanoparticles, which reveals the mechanism of bone tumor inhibition by selenium-doped hydroxyapatite (HA) biomaterials.

        Selenium is an essential microelement for human life (chemical symbol Se, which is abbreviated from the Greek word Selene and means “goddess of the moon”). Se deficiency may lead to Keshan disease, deformability osteoarthrosis and several kinds of tumors. Researches show that Se has good inhibition effects on kinds of tumors. After years of research, Prof. Zhang’s team has successfully embedded the selenium into a certain kind of bone regeneration material—the lattice of HA, thereby inventing selenium-doped HA biomaterials (Se-HA, Invention Patent, China, ZL201110127119.1). They found that Se-HA can not only inhibit osteosarcoma cells growth and promote mesenchymal stem cells proliferation, but also significantly improve the functions of human organization (Cover Story: Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2015, 4, 1813-1818). The new selenium-doped biomaterials have shown its important prospect in the field of regeneration and repair after malignant bone tumor resection.

        The new result published in ACS Nano (doi: 10.1021/acsnano.6bo3835) further demonstrated that after being internalized into tumor cells by nonspecific endocytosis, selenium-doped hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (Se-HANs) could rapidly degrade in the acidic lysosome to release inorganic Se ions and induce the generation of the reactive oxygen species (ROS). Synergistically orchestrated with the ROS, tumor cells apoptosis activated by two selenium-induced, caspase-dependent apoptosis pathways.

        This project was completed in collaboration with the University of Oklahoma (USA), Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University and Zhejiang University. The PhD candidate Wang Yifan and Dr. Wang Jianglin are co-first authors of this paper. Prof. C. Mao at the University of Oklahoma and Prof. Zhang Shengming at our university are co-corresponding authors. HUST is the institute of the first author and the corresponding author. The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and the Interdisciplinary Innovation Team of HUST.