1. Arachidonic acid metabolism through the lipoxygenase pathway in platelets was investigated in 11 patients with low selenium (Se) nutritional status and compared with 14 patients with a normal Se status.
2. Plasma and whole blood Se levels, as well as plasma, whole blood and platelet glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) activity, were measured in both groups and found to be significantly lower in the group with low Se status.
3. Studies on [14C]arachidonic acid stimulated platelets demonstrated that reduced conversion of the active metabolite 12-hydroperoxyeicosatetraenoic acid to 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid occurred in patients with low Se nutrition.
4. Changes in [14C]arachidonic acid metabolism are attributed to reduced activity of the seleno-enzyme GSHPx. The effects of other factors cannot be entirely excluded.