Palm oil for the heart

TOCOTRIENOL may not be a familiar name to the public, but worldwide, scientists are looking to see how this natural Vitamin E, found abundantly in palm oil, may help stroke, cancer and diabetes patients.

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γ-Tocotrienol protects against mitochondrial dysfunction and renal cell death

Nowak G, Bakajsova D, Hayes C, Hauer-Jensen M, Compadre CM.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2012 Feb;340(2):330-8. Epub 2011 Oct 31.

Oxidative stress is a major mechanism of a variety of renal diseases. Tocopherols and tocotrienols are well known antioxidants. This study aimed to determine whether γ-tocotrienol (GT3) protects against mitochondrial dysfunction and renal proximal tubular cell (RPTC) injury caused by oxidants. Primary cultures of RPTCs were injured by using tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) in the absence and presence of GT3 or α-tocopherol (AT). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production increased 300% in TBHP-injured RPTCs. State 3 respiration, oligomycin-sensitive respiration, and respiratory control ratio (RCR) decreased 50, 63, and 47%, respectively. The number of RPTCs with polarized mitochondria decreased 54%. F₀F₁-ATPase activity and ATP content decreased 31 and 65%, respectively. Cell lysis increased from 3% in controls to 26 and 52% at 4 and 24 h, respectively, after TBHP exposure. GT3 blocked ROS production, ameliorated decreases in state 3 and oligomycin-sensitive respirations and F₀F₁-ATPase activity, and maintained RCR and mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨ(m)) in injured RPTCs. GT3 maintained ATP content, blocked RPTC lysis at 4 h, and reduced it to 13% at 24 h after injury. Treatment with equivalent concentrations of AT did not block ROS production and cell lysis and moderately improved mitochondrial respiration and coupling. This is the first report demonstrating the protective effects of GT3 against RPTC injury by: 1) decreasing production of ROS, 2) improving mitochondrial respiration, coupling, ΔΨ(m), and F₀F₁-ATPase function, 3) maintaining ATP levels, and 4) preventing RPTC lysis. Our data suggest that GT3 is superior to AT in protecting RPTCs against oxidant injury and may prove therapeutically valuable for preventing renal injury associated with oxidative stress.

Tocotrienol as a potential anticancer agent

Ling MT, Luk SU, Al-Ejeh F, Khanna KK.

Carcinogenesis. 2012 Feb;33(2):233-9. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Vitamin E is composed of two structurally similar compounds: tocopherols (TPs) and tocotrienols (T3). Despite being overshadowed by TP over the past few decades, T3 is now considered to be a promising anticancer agent due to its potent effects against a wide range of cancers. A growing body of evidence suggests that in addition to its antioxidative and pro-apoptotic functions, T3 possesses a number of anticancer properties that make it superior to TP. These include the inhibition of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions, the suppression of vascular endothelial growth factor tumor angiogenic pathway and the induction of antitumor immunity. More recently, T3, but not TP, has been shown to have chemosensitization and anti-cancer stem cell effects, further demonstrating the potential of T3 as an effective anticancer therapeutic agent. With most of the previous clinical studies on TP producing disappointing results, research has now focused on testing T3 as the next generation vitamin E for chemoprevention and cancer treatment. This review will summarize recent developments in the understanding of the anticancer effects of T3. We will also discuss current progress in clinical trials involving T3 as an adjuvant to conventional cancer therapy.

Tocotrienols reverse cardiovascular, metabolic and liver changes in high carbohydrate, high fat diet-fed rats

Wong WY, Poudyal H, Ward LC, Brown L

Nutrients, 2012;4(10):1527-41

Tocotrienols have been reported to improve lipid profiles, reduce atherosclerotic lesions, decrease blood glucose and glycated haemoglobin concentrations, normalise blood pressure in vivo and inhibit adipogenesis in vitro, yet their role in the metabolic syndrome has not been investigated. In this study, we investigated the effects of palm tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) on high carbohydrate, high fat diet-induced metabolic, cardiovascular and liver dysfunction in rats. Rats fed a high carbohydrate, high fat diet for 16 weeks developed abdominal obesity, hypertension, impaired glucose and insulin tolerance with increased ventricular stiffness, lower systolic function and reduced liver function. TRF treatment improved ventricular function, attenuated cardiac stiffness and hypertension, and improved glucose and insulin tolerance, with reduced left ventricular collagen deposition and inflammatory cell infiltration. TRF improved liver structure and function with reduced plasma liver enzymes, inflammatory cell infiltration, fat vacuoles and balloon hepatocytes. TRF reduced plasma free fatty acid and triglyceride concentrations but only omental fat deposition was decreased in the abdomen. These results suggest that tocotrienols protect the heart and liver, and improve plasma glucose and lipid profiles with minimal changes in abdominal obesity in this model of human metabolic syndrome.

Oxidative stress is a major mechanism of a variety of renal diseases. Tocopherols and tocotrienols are well known antioxidants. This study aimed to determine whether γ-tocotrienol (GT3) protects against mitochondrial dysfunction and renal proximal tubular cell (RPTC) injury caused by oxidants. Primary cultures of RPTCs were injured by using tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) in the absence and presence of GT3 or α-tocopherol (AT). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production increased 300% in TBHP-injured RPTCs. State 3 respiration, oligomycin-sensitive respiration, and respiratory control ratio (RCR) decreased 50, 63, and 47%, respectively. The number of RPTCs with polarized mitochondria decreased 54%. F₀F₁-ATPase activity and ATP content decreased 31 and 65%, respectively. Cell lysis increased from 3% in controls to 26 and 52% at 4 and 24 h, respectively, after TBHP exposure. GT3 blocked ROS production, ameliorated decreases in state 3 and oligomycin-sensitive respirations and F₀F₁-ATPase activity, and maintained RCR and mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨ(m)) in injured RPTCs. GT3 maintained ATP content, blocked RPTC lysis at 4 h, and reduced it to 13% at 24 h after injury. Treatment with equivalent concentrations of AT did not block ROS production and cell lysis and moderately improved mitochondrial respiration and coupling. This is the first report demonstrating the protective effects of GT3 against RPTC injury by: 1) decreasing production of ROS, 2) improving mitochondrial respiration, coupling, ΔΨ(m), and F₀F₁-ATPase function, 3) maintaining ATP levels, and 4) preventing RPTC lysis. Our data suggest that GT3 is superior to AT in protecting RPTCs against oxidant injury and may prove therapeutically valuable for preventing renal injury associated with oxidative stress.

The aim of this study was to evaluate tissue distribution of vitamin E isoforms such as α- and γ-tocotrienol and γ-tocopherol and interference with their tissue accumulation by α-tocopherol. Rats were fed a diet containing a tocotrienol mixture or γ-tocopherol with or without α-tocopherol, or were administered by gavage an emulsion containing tocotrienol mixture or γ-tocopherol with or without α-tocopherol. There were high levels of α-tocotrienol in the adipose tissue and adrenal gland, γ-tocotrienol in the adipose tissue, and γ-tocopherol in the adrenal gland of rats fed tocotrienol mixture or γ-tocopherol for 7 weeks. Dietary α-tocopherol decreased the α-tocotrienol and γ-tocopherol but not γ-tocotrienol concentrations in tissues. In the oral administration study, both tocopherol and tocotrienol quickly accumulated in the adrenal gland; however, their accumulation in adipose tissue was slow. In contrast to the dietary intake, α-tocopherol, which has the highest affinity for α-tocopherol transfer protein (αTTP), inhibited uptake of γ-tocotrienol to tissues including adipose tissue after oral administration, suggesting that the affinities of tocopherol and tocotrienol for αTTP in the liver were the critical determinants of their uptake to peripheral tissues. Vitamin E deficiency for 4 weeks depleted tocopherol and tocotrienol stores in the liver but not in adipose tissue. These results indicate that dietary vitamin E slowly accumulates in adipose tissue but the levels are kept without degradation. The property of adipose tissue as vitamin E store causes adipose tissue-specific accumulation of dietary tocotrienol.

Gamma-tocotrienol induces apoptosis and autophagy in prostate cancer cells by increasing intracellular dihydrosphingosine and dihydroceramide

Jiang Q, Rao X, Kim CY, Freiser H, Zhang Q, Jiang Z, Li G.

Int J Cancer. 2012 Feb 1;130(3):685-93.

Although cell-based studies have shown that gamma-tocotrienol (gammaTE) exhibits stronger anticancer activities than other forms of vitamin E including gamma-tocopherol (gammaT), the molecular bases underlying gammaTE-exerted effects remains to be elucidated. Here we showed that gammaTE treatment promoted apoptosis, necrosis and autophagy in human prostate PC-3 and LNCaP cancer cells. In search of potential mechanisms of gammaTE-provoked effects, we found that gammaTE treatment led to marked increase of intracellular dihydroceramide and dihydrosphingosine, the sphingolipid intermediates in de novo sphingolipid synthesis pathway but had no effects on ceramide or sphingosine. The elevation of these sphingolipids by gammaTE preceded or coincided with biochemical and morphological signs of cell death and was much more pronounced than that induced by gammaT, which accompanied with much higher cellular uptake of gammaTE than gammaT. The importance of sphingolipid accumulation in gammaTE-caused fatality was underscored by the observation that dihydrosphingosine and dihydroceramide potently reduced the viability of both prostate cell lines and LNCaP cells, respectively. In addition, myriosin, a specific inhibitor of de novo sphingolipid synthesis, counteracted gammaTE-induced cell death. In agreement with these cell-based studies, gammaTE inhibited LNCaP xenograft growth by 53% (p < 0.05), compared to 33% (p = 0.07) by gammaT, in nude mice. These findings provide a molecular basis of gammaTE-stimulated cancer cell death and support the notion that elevation of intracellular dihydroceramide and dihydrosphingosine is likely a novel anticancer mechanism.

Tocotrienols prevent hydrogen peroxide-induced axon and dendrite degeneration in cerebellar granule cells

Fukui K, Ushiki K, Takatsu H, Koike T, Urano S.

Free Radic Res. 2012 Feb;46(2):184-93.

It is well known that reactive oxygen species (ROS) attack several living tissues and increase the risk of development and progression of serious diseases. In neuronal level, ROS induce cell death in concentration-dependent fashion. However, little is known about the mechanisms of neuronal changes by ROS prior to induction of cell death. Here we found that treatment of cerebellar granule neurons (CGCs) with 0.5 μM hydrogen peroxide induced axonal injury, but not cell death. The number of dendrites remarkably decreased in hydrogen peroxide-treated CGCs, and extensive beading was observed on survival dendrites. In addition, an abnormal band of the original collapsin response mediator protein (CRMP)-2 was detected by Western blotting in hydrogen peroxide-treated CGCs. Treatment with each tocotrienol isoform prevented axonal and dendrite degeneration and induction of the abnormal band of the original band of CRMP-2 in hydrogen peroxide-treated CGCs. These results indicate that treatment with tocotrienols may therefore be neuroprotective in the presence of hydrogen peroxide by preventing changes to the CRMP-2 that occur before neuron death.

Vitamin E Tocotrienol Supplement Delays Progression of Advanced Liver Disease

New research conducted at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center suggests an alternate form of natural vitamin E delays the progression of disease in patients awaiting liver transplantation, the only definitive therapy that reduces a patient’s morbidity, mortality and improves their quality of life. The study shows, for the first time, successful delivery of the vitamin – administered orally – to vital human organs such as the brain, heart, liver, skin and fatty tissue.

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Vitamin E Could Best Vitamin A at Preventing Photodamage

Charlotte Lo Buono

Italian scientists have found that vitamin E may be more effective than vitamin A in preventing UV-induced skin damage. Their data also suggest that certain compounds in the vitamin E family called tocotrienols are more effective at preventing photodamage to the skin than tocopherols, another group of compounds in the vitamin E family that are more well known and widely used in cosmetics. The team’s research was recently published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. According to a report by CosmeticsDesign.com, their findings indicate that tocotrienols, which have not been widely studied before, may have a use as an ingredient in skin care products including sunscreen and moisturizer.

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