Vitamin E tocotrienols improve metabolic markers to prevent vascular and cancer risks

John Phillip

Very few people realize that there are eight different fractions of vitamin E known as tocotrienols that are essential to optimal health and protect against vascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Tocotrienols are so critical that new research demonstrates a shortage of these vitamin isomers can lead to premature chromosomal telomere shortening and reduced lifespan. Reporting in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, researchers show that tocotrienols can extend the length of the zipper-like genetic strands and protect against DNA damage. Natural food sources for tocotrienols are few, so it may be necessary to supplement with this vital nutrient to reap the amazing vascular and life-extending benefits.

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A paraptosis-like cell death induced by δ-tocotrienol in human colon carcinoma SW620 cells is associated with the suppression of the Wnt signaling pathway

Zhang JS, Li DM, He N, Liu YH, Wang CH, Jiang SQ, Chen BQ, Liu JR.

Toxicology. 2011 Jul 11;285(1-2):8-17. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Tocotrienol is considered a beneficial effect agent on inhibition of tumor development. In this study, we focused on the effects of δ-tocotrienol and its possible mechanism on induction of death in human colon cancer SW620 cells. δ-Tocotrienol inhibited proliferation of SW620 cell in a dose-dependent manner. Our findings showed that δ-tocotrienol effectively induced paraptosis-like death in SW620 cells, correlated with the vacuolation that may be from welling and fusion of mitochondria and/or the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as well as caspase-3 nonactivated. However, there were no changes in apoptosis based on flow cytometry analysis. Of being noted, δ-tocotrienol reduced the expression of β-catenin and wnt-1 proteins by about 50% at the highest dose (20μmol/L). δ-Tocotrienol also decreased cyclin D1, c-jun and MMP-7 protein levels in SW620 cells. Altogether, these data indicate that δ-tocotrienol induces paraptosis-like cell death, which is associated with the suppression of the Wnt signaling pathway. Thus, our findings may provide a novel application in treatment of human colon carcinoma.

Role of immunoregulatory transcription factors in differential immunomodulatory effects of tocotrienols

Wilankar C, Sharma D, Checker R, Khan NM, Patwardhan R, Patil A, Sandur SK, Devasagayam TP.

Free Radic Biol Med. 2011 Jul 1;51(1):129-43. Epub 2011 Apr 8.

Tocotrienols have been shown to possess antioxidant, antitumor, cardioprotective, and antiproliferative effects. This report describes novel immunomodulatory effects of tocotrienols in murine lymphocytes. γ-Tocotrienol (GT) was more effective in suppressing concanavalin A (Con A)-induced T cell proliferation and cytokine production compared to α-tocotrienol (AT) when present continuously in the culture. GT inhibited T cell activation markers and costimulatory molecule. GT modulated intracellular glutathione in lymphocytes, and the suppressive effects of GT could not be abrogated by thiol or nonthiol antioxidants, indicating a poor link between anti-inflammatory properties of tocotrienols and cellular redox status. It was also observed that GT suppressed Con A-induced activation of NF-κB, AP-1, and NF-κB-dependent gene expression. Cellular uptake studies with tocotrienols showed higher accumulation of GT compared to AT. Similar immunosuppressive effects of GT were also observed when administered to mice. In contrast, transient exposure of lymphocytes to GT (4 h) resulted in higher survival and proliferation of lymphocytes in vitro and in vivo in syngeneic and allogeneic hosts. This was attributed to the ability of GT to induce NF-κB, AP-1, and mTOR activation in lymphocytes upon transient exposure. Our results demonstrated that antioxidants such as tocotrienols may exhibit pleiotropic effects by activating multiple mechanisms in cells.

An improved normal phase high performance liquid chromatographic (NP-HPLC) method was developed for simultaneous quantification of eight vitamin E isomers (α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocopherols and α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocotrienols) and γ-oryzanol in rice. A complete separation of all compounds was achieved within 25 min using an Inertsil CN-3, SIL-100A 5 μM (4.6 mm × 250 mm) column and an isocratic elution system of hexane/isopropanol/ethylacetate/acetic acid (97.6:0.8:0.8:0.8, v/v/v/v) at a flow rate varying from 0.7 to 1.5 mL min(-1). A linear correlation coefficient (r(2)>0.99) and high reproducibility were obtained at concentrations ranging 0.05-10 μg mL(-1) for vitamin E isomers and 0.5-500 μg mL(-1) for γ-oryzanol. This method proved to be rapid, accurate and reproducible.

The impact of dietary changes and dietary supplements on lipid profile

Huang J, Frohlich J, Ignaszewski AP.

Can J Cardiol. 2011 Jul-Aug;27(4):488-505.

With a growing number of dietary interventions that claim to improve lipid profile, it is important to ensure that these claims are evidence based. The objective of this study was to make recommendations for dietary regimens by analyzing their effectiveness and the level of evidence. We searched MEDLINE as well as the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for nutritional studies. Meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials published in English and including data on the effect on blood lipid levels were used. Randomized controlled trials were included if they were at least 4 weeks in duration and had a minimum of 50 participants. We identified 22 different dietary interventions and reviewed 136 studies published between January 1990 and December 2009 that met our inclusion criteria. Our literature review showed that to improve lipid profile, the following regimens can be recommended fully: Mediterranean and Portfolio diets; low-fat diet; diet high in soy protein, fibre, or phytosterols; whole grain foods, and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. The consumption of nuts, a diet high in carbohydrates and protein, green tea, and red wine, as well as the supplementation with policosanol and red yeast rice extract, can be considered for improvement of the lipid profile, while the supplements of guggulipid, garlic, chromium, vitamin C, magnesium-pyridoxal-phosphate-glutamate, tocotrienols, and absorbitol cannot be recommended.

Tocotrienols, components belonging to vitamin E members, are used as potent therapeutics in the treatment of several diseases. Recent studies suggested tocotrienol to have better activity in many situations compared to tocopherols. Tocotrienols have been shown to lower the atherogenic apolipoprotein B and lipoprotein plasma levels. Additionally, tocotrienols with their anti-tumor effect together with anti-angiogenic and anti-thrombotic effects may serve as effective agents in cancer therapy. Besides these effects, some properties such as water insolubility and low stability limit the usage of tocotrienols in the clinic. However recent studies tried to increase the bioavailability with esterification and combination use. These efforts for the clinical usage of tocotrienols which may help them to take a wide place in the clinic and additional studies are needed to identify their therapeutical mechanisms.

Vitamin E family constitutes of tocopherol and tocotrienol. Each form has several isomers: alpha,beta, gamma, delta, desmo and didesmo. Although tocopherol is known much earlier, tocotrienol has been discovered more recently.Tocotrienol has higher antioxidant potential than tocopherol. Research shows that tocotrienol can inhibit the induced oxidative damage to lipids and proteins. Cholesterol biosynthesis pathway requires HMG Co A reductase. Tocotrienol degrades HMG Co A reductase protein and in turn lowers cholesterol synthesis. Tocotrienol can reverse ischemia-reperfusion which mediates cardiac dysfunction and induces c-Src protein expression. Tocotrienol prevents oxytosis and offers protection against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Hungtington’s disease. Tocotrienol exerts anticancer property through cell cycle arrest, induction of apoptosis, inhibition of angiogenesis; antitumor activity. Tocotrienol also possesses anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antiadipogenic and antiatherogenic effect.

Nutrapharmacology of tocotrienols for metabolic syndrome

Weng-Yew W, Brown L.

Curr Pharm Des. Volume 17, Number 21, July 2011

Metabolic syndrome is defined as a set of health risk factors that are associated with an increased chance of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. These include abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, impaired glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Interventions in metabolic syndrome include lifestyle interventions such as a healthy diet using functional foods together with increased physical activity to induce weight loss as the first aim of treatment. Nutraceuticals such as tocotrienols and tocopherols as members of the vitamin E family may be more targeted interventions. This review evaluates the effects of tocotrienols on the risk factors of metabolic syndrome using data from human, animal and in vitro studies. Tocotrienols improved lipid profiles and reduced atherosclerotic lesions, decreased blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin concentrations, normalized blood pressure, and inhibited adipogenesis. The differences in responses between tocopherols and tocotrienols in preventing obesity, diabetes, hypertension, artherosclerosis, ischemia, and inflammation suggest that different receptors or signaling mechanisms may be involved.

An improved normal phase high performance liquid chromatographic (NP-HPLC) method was developed for simultaneous quantification of eight vitamin E isomers (α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocopherols and α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocotrienols) and γ-oryzanol in rice. A complete separation of all compounds was achieved within 25 min using an Inertsil CN-3, SIL-100A 5 μM (4.6 mm × 250 mm) column and an isocratic elution system of hexane/isopropanol/ethylacetate/acetic acid (97.6:0.8:0.8:0.8, v/v/v/v) at a flow rate varying from 0.7 to 1.5 mL min(-1). A linear correlation coefficient (r(2)>0.99) and high reproducibility were obtained at concentrations ranging 0.05-10 μg mL(-1) for vitamin E isomers and 0.5-500 μg mL(-1) for γ-oryzanol. This method proved to be rapid, accurate and reproducible.

γ-tocotrienol induces apoptosis in human T cell lymphoma through activation of both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways.

Wilankar C, Khan NM, Checker R, Sharma D, Patwardhan R, Gota V, Sandur SK, Devasagayam TP.

Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(21):2176-89.

Tocotrienols are members of vitamin E family and possess broad biological activities including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antitumor effects. In the present study, we examine the potential of α-tocotrienol (AT) and γ-tocotrienol (GT) in inhibiting the proliferation of human T cell lymphoma Jurkat cells and elucidate the pathways involved in anti tumor effects of GT. Only GT but not AT inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in Jurkat cells in a dose dependent manner. GT treatment resulted in elevated mitochondrial ROS production, activation of JNK and suppression of ERK and p38 MAPK. GT also induced calcium release, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and cytochrome c release from the mitochondria. These changes were accompanied by increase in Bax expression with a concomitant decrease in Bcl-xl expression suggesting activation of mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. GT induced increase in mitochondrial ROS was abrogated by catalase. Besides, GT also up-regulated surface expression of Fas and FasL on Jurkat cells. Further, caspase activation and PARP degradation was also seen in cells treated with GT. Inhibitors of caspase-8 and caspase-9 significantly abrogated GT mediated apoptosis. In contrast GT was not toxic to normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells suggesting differential cytotoxicity towards normal lymphocytes and transformed lymphoma cells. Cellular uptake studies with tocotrienols showed higher intracellular accumulation of GT as compared to AT which may be responsible for its better antitumor activity. Our results show antitumor effects of GT in human lymphoma cells via increased mitochondrial ROS generation and activation of both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways.

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