Background: Dietary supplementation with tocotrienols has been shown to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Tocotrienols are plant-derived forms of vitamin E, which have potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, hypocholesterolemic, and neuroprotective properties. Our objective in this study was to determine the extent to which tocotrienols inhibit platelet aggregation and reduce coronary thrombosis, a major risk factor for stroke in humans. The present study was carried out to determine the comparative effects of α-tocopherol, α-tocotrienol, or tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF; a mixture of α-+γ-+δ-tocotrienols) on in vivo platelet thrombosis and ex vivo platelet aggregation (PA) after intravenous injection in anesthetized dogs, by using a mechanically stenosed circumflex coronary artery model (Folts’ cyclic flow model).
We previously found that 2,7,8-trimethyl-2(2′-carboxyethyl)-6-hydroxychroman (γCEHC), a metabolite of the vitamin E isoforms γ-tocopherol or γ-tocotrienol, accumulated in the rat small intestine. The aim of this study was to evaluate tissue distribution of vitamin E metabolites. A single dose of α-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol or a tocotrienol mixture containing α- and γ-tocotrienol was orally administered to rats. Total amounts of conjugated and unconjugated metabolites in the tissues were measured by HPLC with an electrochemical detector, and 6-hydroxy-2,5,7,8-tetramethylchroman-2-carboxylic acid (trolox) was used as an internal standard. Twenty-four hours later, the vitamin E isoforms were detected in most tissues and in the serum. However, 2,5,7,8-tetramethyl-2(2′-carboxyethyl)-6-hydroxychroman (αCEHC), a metabolite of α-tocopherol or α-tocotrienol, and γCEHC accumulated in the serum and in some tissues including the liver, small intestine and kidney. Administration of α-tocopherol increased the γCEHC concentration in the small intestine, suggesting that α-tocopherol enhances γ-tocopherol catabolism. In contrast, ketoconazole, an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 (CYP)-dependent vitamin E catabolism, markedly decreased the γCEHC concentration. These data indicate that vitamin E metabolite accumulates not only in the liver but also in the small intestine and kidney. We conclude that some dietary vitamin E is catabolized to carboxyethyl-hydroxychroman in the small intestine and is secreted into the circulatory system.
A form of Vitamin E may help protect against high levels of radiation exposure. Studies show that a potent form of Vitamin E called gamma tocotrienols may counteract the harmful effects of radiation. “It is something we have been working on for about five years now,” says Dr. Martin Hauer-Jensen, director of radiation health at UAMS.