Singlet oxygen quenching rate constants for tocopherol and tocotrienol homologues have been determined in organic solvents of different polarities, as well as for other biological prenyllipids such as plastoquinol, ubiquinol, and alpha-tocopherolquinol. The obtained results showed that the quenching activity of tocochromanols was mainly due to the chromanol ring of the molecule and the activity increased with the number of the methyl groups in the ring and solvent polarity. Among prenylquinols, alpha-tocopherolquinol was the most active scavenger of singlet oxygen followed by ubiquinol and plastoquinol. The oxidation products of tocopherols were identified as 8a-hydroperoxy-tocopherones which are converted to the corresponding tocopherolquinones under acidic conditions. The primary oxidation products of prenylquinols, containing unsaturated side chains, were the corresponding prenylquinones that were further oxidized to hydroxyl side-chain derivatives. In the case of plastochromanol, the gamma-tocotrienol homologue found in some seed oils, mainly the hydroxyl derivatives were formed, although 8a-hydroperoxy-gamma-tocopherones were also formed to a minor extent, both from plastochromanol and from its hydroxyl, side-chain derivatives. The obtained results were discussed in terms of the activity of different prenyllipids as singlet oxygen scavengers in vivo.
Tocotrienol is an antioxidant which has found commercial application as a food additive and health supplement all over the world. Since there have been no reports regarding toxicological effects of long-term exposure, we performed a 52-week chronic study using Wistar Hannover rats of both sexes given the compound at doses of 0, 0.08, 0.4 or 2% in powdered basal diet. Since 6 animals in the 2% male group died of hemorrhage of several organs by week 50, the maximum dose level was changed to 1% in both sexes for the last 2 weeks. Decrease of body weight gain was observed in the 2% males from week 5 and females from week 10, this persisting to the end of the study. With the high dose, prolongation of prothrombin time and increase of serum ALT in males, and increase of serum ALP in both sexes were observed with statistical significance. In male and female rats receiving 0.4% or less, there were no toxicological changes in any of the parameters examined. At necropsy, multiple cyst-like nodules on the liver surface were macroscopically pronounced in both sexes receiving 2%. On histopathological examination, hepatocellular nodules were evident with distortion of hepatic cords and compression of the surrounding tissue, almost all including areas of spongiosis hepatis. The constituent hepatocytes were immunohistochemically stained with proliferation cell nuclear antigen at high rates. Nevertheless, they did not exhibit overt atypia and the basic lobular architecture remained intact. Additionally, they were consistently negative for glutathione S-transferase placental form (GST-P). Accordingly, we propose the newly categorized but previously used name ‘nodular hepatocellular hyperplasia’, which may not necessarily have a neoplastic or regenerative nature. However, quantitative GST-P analysis of the liver sections overall showed numbers of GST-P foci in the high dose females to be significantly elevated as compared to the control value. Based on the present data demonstrating nodular liver lesions only at the high dose of both sexes, we conclude that the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) is 0.4% (303 mg/kg/day for males, and 472 mg/kg/day for females).
The tocotrienol vitamin E has potent antioxidant property, however absorption is low due to high lipid solubility. A self emulsifying preparation of tocotrienol rich vitamin E (SF-TRE) had been reported to increase their bioavailability. This randomized, placebo controlled, blinded end point clinical study aimed to determine the effects of 50, 100 and 200 mg daily of SF-TRE and placebo for two months on arterial compliance and vitamin E blood levels. Assessment of arterial compliance by carotid femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) and augmentation index (AI), plasma vitamin E, serum total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol were taken before and after 2 months’ treatment in 36 healthy males. Un-supplemented tocotrienollevels were low, after treatment, all SF-TRE treated groups had significantly higher plasma alpha, delta and delta tocotrienol concentrations compared to placebo. Augmentation index change from baseline to end of treatment for groups placebo, 50, 100, and 200 mg were 2.22+/-1.54, -6.59+/-2.84, -8.72+/-3.77, and -6.27+/-2.67% respectively (p=0.049, 0.049, and 0.047 respectively). Groups 100 and 200 mg showed significant improvement after treatment with pulse wave velocity reductions of 0.77 m/s and 0.65 m/s respectively (p=0.007 and p=0.002). There was no effect of SF-TRE on serum lipids. We conclude that there was a trend towards improvement in arterial compliance with 2 months’ of SF-TRE.
Tocotrienols, a subgroup within the vitamin E family of compounds, have shown antiproliferative and anticancer properties, however, the molecular basis of these effects remains to be elucidated. In this study, the effect of 3-tocotrienol on cell cycle arrest was assessed by studying the retinoblastoma protein (Rb) levels and phosphorylation status, levels of E2F (a transcription factor critically involved in the G1/S-phase transition of the mammalian cell cycle; originally identified as a DNA-binding protein essential for early region 1A-dependent activation of the adenovirus promoter designated E2), and other cell cycle controlling proteins in estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. The cell growth assay demonstrated that exposure of the MDA-MB-231 cells to 6-tocotrienol (1-20 microM) resulted in a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of cell growth as compared with vehicle treated cells and the magnitude of growth inhibition was higher at 10 and 20 microM treatment for 48 and 72 h. The phosphorylation status of Rb plays a central role in the control of the cell cycle at the G0/G1-phase. delta-Tocotrienol treatment reduced the total Rb and its phosphorylation at the Ser780, Ser795, Ser 807/811 and Thr826 positions in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. The site-specific inhibition of the phosphorylation of Rb by delta-tocotrienol was tightly associated with a marked reduction in the expression of cyclin D1 and its regulatory partner cyclin-dependant kinase 4 (CDK4), which is responsible for the phosphorylation of Rb at Ser780, Ser795, Ser 807/811 and Thr826. In addition, delta-tocotrienol also reduced the expression of E2F that occurred simultaneously with the loss of Rb phosphorylation and inhibition of cell cycle progression. Interestingly, delta-tocotrienol also caused a marked reduction in the expression of G2/M regulatory proteins including cyclin B1 and CDK1. To the best of our knowledge, this study was the first to reveal that the target of cell proliferative inhibitory action of delta-tocotrienol in a model estrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 is mediated by the loss of cyclin D1 and associated suppression of site-specific Rb phosphorylation, suggesting its future development and use as an anticancer agent.