Tocotrienols from palm oil showed significant ability to inhibit oxidative damage induced by ascorbate-Fe2+ and photosensitization, involving different mechanisms, in rat liver microsomes. The tocotrienol-rich fraction from palm oil (TRF), being tried as a more economical and efficient substitute for alpha-tocopherol, showed time- and concentration-dependent inhibition of protein oxidation as well as lipid peroxidation. It was more effective against protein oxidation. The extent of inhibition by TRF varied with different peroxidation products such as conjugated dienes, lipid hydroperoxides and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Among the constituents of TRF, gamma-tocotrienol was the most effective followed by its alpha- and delta-isomers. In general, at a low concentration of 5 microM, TRF was able to prevent oxidative damage to significant extent (37% inhibition of protein oxidation and 27-30% of lipid peroxidation at 1 h of incubation). The protective ability of TRF (30.1% at 5 microM with TBARS formation) was significantly higher than that of the dominant form of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol (16.5% under same conditions). Hence our studies indicate that this fraction from palm oil can be considered as an effective natural antioxidant supplement capable of protecting cellular membranes against oxidative damage.
Sundry mevalonate-derived constituents (isoprenoids) of fruits, vegetables and cereal grains suppress the growth of tumors. This study estimated the concentrations of structurally diverse isoprenoids required to inhibit the increase in a population of murine B16(F10) melanoma cells during a 48-h incubation by 50% (IC50 value). The IC50 values for d-limonene and perillyl alcohol, the monoterpenes in Phase I trials, were 450 and 250 micromol/L, respectively; related cyclic monoterpenes (perillaldehyde, carvacrol and thymol), an acyclic monoterpene (geraniol) and the end ring analog of beta-carotene (beta-ionone) had IC50 values in the range of 120-150 micromol/L. The IC50 value estimated for farnesol, the side-chain analog of the tocotrienols (50 micromol/L) fell midway between that of alpha-tocotrienol (110 micromol/L) and those estimated for gamma- (20 micromol/L) and delta- (10 micromol/L) tocotrienol. A novel tocotrienol lacking methyl groups on the tocol ring proved to be extremely potent (IC50, 0.9 micromol/L). In the first of two diet studies, experimental diets were fed to weanling C57BL female mice for 10 d prior to and 28 d following the implantation of the aggressively growing and highly metastatic B16(F10) melanoma. The isomolar (116 micromol/kg diet) and the Vitamin E-equivalent (928 micromol/kg diet) substitution of d-gamma-tocotrienol for dl-alpha-tocopherol in the AIN-76A diet produced 36 and 50% retardations, respectively, in tumor growth (P < 0.05). In the second study, melanomas were established before mice were fed experimental diets formulated with 2 mmol/kg d-gamma-tocotrienol, beta-ionone individually and in combination. Each treatment increased (P < 0.03) the duration of host survival. Our finding that the effects of individual isoprenoids were additive suggests the possibility that one component of the anticarcinogenic action of plant-based diets is the tumor growth-suppressive action of the diverse isoprenoid constituents of fruits, vegetables and cereal grains.