Lymphatic transport of alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienols and alpha-tocopherol was measured in thoracic duct-cannulated rats. Animals were administered 3 ml of a test emulsion containing 200 mg sodium taurocholate, 50 mg fatty acid free-albumin, 200 mg fat and 100 mg of a mixture oftocotrienols and alpha-tocopherol (Exp. 1) or 10 mg of purified alpha-, gamma- or delta-tocotrienol or alpha-tocopherol (Exp. 2) through a gastric tube. Quantitative lymphatic recovery of oleic acid given as triolein was obtained in these experimental conditions. The 24-hours recovery of tocotrienols and alpha-tocopherol were 10-20% of the administered dose in Exp. 1. The recovery of alpha-tocotrienol was about 2-times higher than that of alpha-tocopherol, while that of gamma- and delta-tocotrienols was intermediate between these two alpha-forms. In Exp. 2, where these compounds were administered individually, the 24 hours recovery ranged from 22 to 37% of the administered dose. Again, the recovery of alpha-tocotrienol was significantly higher than that of the other tocotrienols and alpha-tocopherol, while that of gamma- and delta-tocotrienols and alpha-tocopherol was comparable. Thus, the results show the preferential absorption of alpha-tocotrienol compared to gamma- and delta-tocotrienols and alpha-tocopherol.

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