The term vitamin E denotes a family of tocopherols and tocotrienols, plant lipids that are essential for vertebrate fertility and health. The principal form of vitamin E found in humans, RRR-alpha-tocopherol (TOH), is thought to protect cells by virtue of its ability to quench free radicals, and functions as the main lipid-soluble antioxidant. Regulation of vitamin E homeostasis occurs in the liver, where TOH is selectively retained while other forms of vitamin E are degraded. Through the action of tocopherol transfer protein (TTP), TOH is then secreted from the liver into circulating lipoproteins that deliver the vitamin to target tissues. Presently, very little is known regarding the intracellular transport of vitamin E. We utilized biochemical, pharmacological, and microscopic approaches to study this process in cultured hepatocytes. We observe that tocopherol-HDL complexes are efficiently internalized through scavenger receptor class B type I. Once internalized, tocopherol arrives within approximately 30 min at intracellular vesicular organelles, where it co-localizes with TTP, and with a marker of the lysosomal compartment (LAMP1), before being transported to the plasma membrane in a TTP-dependent manner. We further show that intracellular processing of tocopherol involves a functional interaction between TTP and an ABC-type transporter.

Tocotrienols reverse IKAP and monoamine oxidase deficiencies in familial dysautonomia

Anderson SL, Rubin BY.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Oct 14;336(1):150-6.

Familial dysautonomia (FD), a recessive neurodegenerative disease, is caused by mutations in the IKBKAP gene that result in the production of nonfunctional IKAP protein. Manifestations of FD include autonomic crises characterized by hypertension, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and vomiting. Elevated plasma levels of norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine observed during autonomic crises and an exaggerated hypertensive response to low doses of NE prompted an examination of monoamine oxidase (MAO) levels, key isoenzymes responsible for degrading biogenic and dietary monoamines, in individuals with FD. Fetal tissue homozygous for the common FD-causing mutation and peripheral blood cells of individuals with FD have reduced MAO A mRNA levels. FD-derived cells, stimulated with tocotrienols or EGCG to produce increased levels of functional IKAP, express increased amounts of MAO A mRNA transcript and protein. Administration of tocotrienol to individuals with FD results in increased expression of both functional IKAP and MAO A transcripts in their peripheral blood cells. These findings provide new insight into the pathophysiology of FD and demonstrate the value of therapeutic approaches designed to elevate cellular levels of functional IKAP and MAO A.

The therapeutic impacts of tocotrienols in type 2 diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia

Baliarsingh S, Beg ZH, Ahmad J.

Atherosclerosis. 2005 Oct;182(2):367-74. Epub 2005 Apr 20.

In type 2 diabetics, the progression of atherosclerosis is more rapid than the general population and 80% of these patients will die of an atherosclerotic event. Since in these patients hyperglycemia per se confers increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), the presence of even borderline-high-risk LDL-C signals the need for more aggressive LDL-lowering therapy. Most of the lipid lowering agents, currently in use in the treatment of dyslipidemia in type 2 diabetics, have a host of side effects. In contrast, dietary tocotrienols are Vitamin E and have effective lipid lowering property in addition to their potent antioxidant activity. In this study, we have investigated the therapeutic impacts of tocotrienols on serum and lipoprotein lipid levels in type 2 diabetic patients. Based on known tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF)-mediated decrease on elevated blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin A(1C) (HbA(1C)) in diabetic rats, we have also investigated the effect of TRF on these parameters. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled design involving 19 type 2 diabetic subjects with hyperlipidemia was used. After 60 days of TRF treatment, subjects showed an average decline of 23, 30, and 42% in serum total lipids, TC, and LDL-C, respectively. The goal in type 2 diabetics is to reduce LDL-C levels < or = 100mg/dl. In the present investigation tocotrienols mediated a reduction of LDL-C from an average of 179 mg/dl to 104 mg/dl. However, hypoglycemic effect of TRF was not observed in these patients because they were glycemically stable and their glucose and HbA(1) levels were close to normal values. In conclusion, daily intake of dietary TRF by type 2 diabetics will be useful in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and atherogenesis.

Neuroprotective properties of the natural vitamin E alpha-tocotrienol

Khanna S, Roy S, Slivka A, Craft TK, Chaki S, Rink C, Notestine MA, DeVries AC, Parinandi NL, Sen CK.

Stroke. 2005 Oct;36(10):2258-64. Epub 2005 Sep 15.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The current work is based on our previous finding that in neuronal cells, nmol/L concentrations of alpha-tocotrienol (TCT), but not alpha-tocopherol (TCP), blocked glutamate-induced death by suppressing early activation of c-Src kinase and 12-lipoxygenase.

 

METHODS: The single neuron microinjection technique was used to compare the neuroprotective effects of TCT with that of the more widely known TCP. Stroke-dependent brain tissue damage was studied in 12-Lox-deficient mice and spontaneously hypertensive rats orally supplemented with TCT.

 

RESULTS: Subattomole quantity of TCT, but not TCP, protected neurons from glutamate challenge. Pharmacological as well as genetic approaches revealed that 12-Lox is rapidly tyrosine phosphorylated in the glutamate-challenged neuron and that this phosphorylation is catalyzed by c-Src. 12-Lox-deficient mice were more resistant to stroke-induced brain injury than their wild-type controls. Oral supplementation of TCT to spontaneously hypertensive rats led to increased TCT levels in the brain. TCT-supplemented rats showed more protection against stroke-induced injury compared with matched controls. Such protection was associated with lower c-Src activation and 12-Lox phosphorylation at the stroke site.

 

CONCLUSIONS: The natural vitamin E, TCT, acts on key molecular checkpoints to protect against glutamate- and stroke-induced neurodegeneration.

The therapeutic impacts of tocotrienols in type 2 diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia

Baliarsingh S, Beg ZH, Ahmad J.

Atherosclerosis. 2005 Oct;182(2):367-74. Epub 2005 Apr 20.

Published

Objectives: In this study, we investigated the therapeutic impacts of tocotrienols on serum and lipoprotein lipid levels in type 2 diabetic patients. Based on known tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF)-mediated decrease on elevated blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin A(1C) (HbA(1C)) in diabetic rats, we have also investigated the effect of TRF on these parameters.

Study design: Randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled design

Subjects: Subjects with type 2 diabetic and hyperlipidemia

Intervention: Tocotrienol-rich fraction versus placebo

Primary outcome: Serum total cholesterol and LDL levels

Methodology: Subjects were first treated to 60 days of TRF treatment after which their serum total lipids, TC and LDL-C were measured.

Results: Subjects showed an average decline of 23, 30, and 42% in serum total lipids, TC, and LDL-C, respectively. The goal in type 2 diabetics is to reduce LDL-C levels < or = 100mg/dl. In the present investigation tocotrienols mediated a reduction of LDL-C from an average of 179 mg/dl to 104 mg/dl. However, hypoglycemic effect of TRF was not observed in these patients because they were glycemically stable and their glucose and HbA(1) levels were close to normal values.

Conclusion: Daily intake of dietary TRF by type 2 diabetics will be useful in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and atherogenesis.

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