NOT many people paid heed to tocotrienols 30 years ago, but of late, the scientific community just can’t seem to get enough of it. Just in the last five years alone, dozens of papers had been published on this lesser known form of vitamin E, which can actually exist in four forms, or isomers.
Background: Altered immune function during ageing results in increased production of nitric oxide (NO) and other inflammatory mediators. Recently, we have reported that NO production was inhibited by naturally-occurring proteasome inhibitors (quercetin, δ-tocotrienol, and riboflavin) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 cells, and thioglycolate-elicited peritoneal macrophages from C57BL/6 mice. In a continuous effort to find more potent, non-toxic, commercially available, naturally-occurring proteasome inhibitors that suppress inflammation, the present study was carried out to describe the inhibition of NF-κB activation and NO, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, and iNOS expression by trans-resveratrol, trans-pterostilbene, morin hydrate, and nicotinic acid in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells and thioglycolate-elicited peritoneal macrophages from C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice.
Results: The present results indicate that resveratrol, pterostilbene, and morin hydrate caused significant inhibition (>70% to 90%; P < 0.02) in the activities of chymotrypsin-like, trypsin-like, and post-acidic (post-glutamase) proteasome sites in RAW 264.7 cells at a dose of only 20 μM. These compounds also inhibited the production of NO by RAW-264.7 cells stimulated with LPS alone (>40%; P < 0.05), or LPS + interferon-γ (IFN-γ; >60%; P < 0.02). Furthermore, resveratrol, pterostilbene, morin hydrate, and quercetin suppressed secretion of TNF-α (>40%; P < 0.05) in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells, and suppressed NF-κB activation (22% to 45%; P < 0.05) in LPS-stimulated HEK293T cells. These compounds also significantly suppressed LPS-induced expression of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and iNOS genes in RAW 264.7 cells, and also in thioglycolate-elicited peritoneal macrophages from C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice.
Conclusions: The present results clearly demonstrate that resveratrol and pterostilbene are particularly potent proteasome inhibitors that suppress expression of genes, and production of inflammatory products in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells, and macrophages from C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice. Resveratrol and pterostilbene which are present in grapes, blueberries, and red wine, have been implicated as contributing factors to the lower incidence of cardiovascular disease in the French population, despite their relatively high dietary fat intake. Consequently, it appears likely that the beneficial nutritional effects of resveratrol and pterostilbene are due at least in part, to their ability to inhibit NF-κB activation by the proteasome, thereby suppressing activation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and iNOS genes, resulting in decreased secretion of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and NO levels, in response to inflammatory stimuli. This is the first report demonstrating that resveratrol and pterostilbene act as proteasome inhibitors, thus providing a mechanism for their anti-inflammatory effects.
γ-Tocotrienol, a major component of the tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil, has been suggested to have antioxidant and anticancer activity as well as potent chemopreventive effects on tumor cells. In this study, the mechanisms underlying γ-tocotrienol-mediated growth inhibition of human carcinoma HT-29 cells were further investigated, especially in correlation with the involvement of β-catenin/T-cell factor (Tcf) signaling pathway. We found that γ-tocotrienol could strongly suppress the transcriptional activity of β-catenin/Tcf signaling pathway in HT-29 cells. γ-Tocotrienol inhibited the expression level of total β-catenin protein but did not significantly affect the phosphorylated β-catenin level. Meanwhile, γ-tocotrienol down-regulated the protein level of nuclear β-catenin and induced its redistribution to cell membrane. Furthermore, γ-tocotrienol suppressed the expression of downstream target genes such as c-myc, cyclin D1 and survivin. The results demonstrated that γ-tocotrienol-inhibited growth and -induced apoptosis in HT-29 cells were accompanied by significant inhibition of β-catenin/Tcf signaling. Blocking the expression of β-catenin with small interfering RNA significantly suppressed the ability of γ-tocotrienol to reduce viability and induce apoptosis in HT-29 cells. Thus, our data suggested that γ-tocotrienol exerts its anticancer activity through β-catenin/Tcf signaling, and β-catenin is a target for γ-tocotrienol in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Vitamin E is a family of naturally occurring and structurally related lipophilic antioxidants, one of which, α-tocopherol (α-TOH), selectively accumulates in vertebrate tissues. The ω-hydroxylase cytochrome P450-4F2 (CYP4F2) is the only human enzyme shown to metabolize vitamin E. Using cDNA cloning, cell culture expression, and activity assays, we identified Cyp4f14 as a functional murine ortholog of CYP4F2. We then investigated the effect of Cyp4f14 deletion on vitamin E metabolism and status in vivo. Cyp4f14-null mice exhibited substrate-specific reductions in liver microsomal vitamin E-ω-hydroxylase activity ranging from 93% (γ-TOH) to 48% (γ-tocotrienol). In vivo data obtained from metabolic cage studies showed whole-body reductions in metabolism of γ-TOH of 90% and of 68% for δ- and α-TOH. This metabolic deficit in Cyp4f14(-/-) mice was partially offset by increased fecal excretion of nonmetabolized tocopherols and of novel ω-1- and ω-2-hydroxytocopherols. 12′-OH-γ-TOH represented 41% of whole-body production of γ-TOH metabolites in Cyp4f14(-/-) mice fed a soybean oil diet. Despite these counterbalancing mechanisms, Cyp4f14-null mice fed this diet for 6 weeks hyper-accumulated γ-TOH (2-fold increase over wild-type littermates) in all tissues and appeared normal. We conclude that CYP4F14 is the major but not the only vitamin E-ω-hydroxylase in mice. Its disruption significantly impairs whole-body vitamin E metabolism and alters the widely conserved phenotype of preferential tissue deposition of α-TOH. This model animal and its derivatives will be valuable in determining the biological actions of specific tocopherols and tocotrienols in vivo.
Vitamin E has been suggested to modulate age-associated changes by altering the redox balance resulting in altered gene and/or protein expression. Here we have utilized proteomics to determine whether such regulation in protein expression occurs in human lymphocytes from two different age groups stressed with H₂O₂ and then treated with vitamin E in the form of tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF). In this study, lymphocytes obtained from young (30-49 years old) and old (>50 years old) volunteers were first challenged with 1 mM H₂O₂. They were then treated by exposure to 50, 100 and 200 μg/ml TRF. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by MALDI-TOF/TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight/time-of-flight) tandem mass spectrometry was then performed on whole-cell protein extracts to identify proteins that have changed in expression. A total of 24 proteins were found to be affected by H₂O₂ and/or TRF treatment. These included proteins that were related to metabolism, antioxidants, structural proteins, protein degradation and signal transduction. Of particular interest was the regulation of a number of proteins involved in stress response–peroxiredoxin-2, peroxiredoxin-3 and peroxiredoxin-6-all of which were shown to be down-regulated with H₂O₂ exposure. The effect was reversed following TRF treatment. The expression of peroxiredoxin-2 and peroxiredoxin-6 was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. These results suggested that TRF directly influenced the expression dynamics of the peroxiredoxin-2, thus improving the cells ability to resist damage caused by oxidative stress.
Vitamin E comprises a group of eight lipid soluble antioxidant compounds that are an essential part of the human diet. The α-isomers of both tocopherol and tocotrienol are generally considered to have the highest antioxidant activities. γ-tocopherol methyltransferase (γ-TMT) catalyzes the final step in vitamin E biosynthesis, the methylation of γ- and δ-isomers to α- and β-isomers. In present study, the Arabidopsis γ-TMT (AtTMT) cDNA was overexpressed constitutively or in the endosperm of the elite japonica rice cultivar Wuyujing 3 (WY3) by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. HPLC analysis showed that, in brown rice of the wild type or transgenic controls with empty vector, the α-/γ-tocotrienol ratio was only 0.7, much lower than that for tocopherol (~19.0). In transgenic rice overexpressing AtTMT driven by the constitutive Ubi promoter, most of the γ-isomers were converted to α-isomers, especially the γ- and δ-tocotrienol levels were dramatically decreased. As a result, the α-tocotrienol content was greatly increased in the transgenic seeds. Similarly, over-expression of AtTMT in the endosperm also resulted in an increase in the α-tocotrienol content. The results showed that the α-/γ-tocopherol ratio also increased in the transgenic seeds, but there was no significant effect on α-tocopherol level, which may reflect the fact that γ-tocopherol is present in very small amounts in wild type rice seeds. AtTMT overexpression had no effect on the absolute total content of either tocopherols or tocotrienols. Taken together, these results are the first demonstration that the overexpression of a foreign γ-TMT significantly shift the tocotrienol synthesis in rice, which is one of the world’s most important food crops.
The aim of this work was to compare the intestinal absorption kinetics and bioavailability of γ-tocotrienol (γ-T3) and α-tocopherol (α-Tph) administered separately as oil solutions to rats invivo. Also, to explain the significant difference in both compounds oral bioavailability bycomparing their: 1) release profiles using the dynamic in-vitro lipolysis model, 2) intestinalpermeability, and 3) carrier-mediated uptake by Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1) transporterwere examined. Absolute bioavailability studies were conducted after oral administration of γ-T3 or α-Tph prepared in corn oil to rats. In-situ rat intestinal perfusion with ezetimibe (NPC1L1 inhibitor) was performed to compare intestinal permeability. In-vitro interaction kinetics with NPC1L1 was examined in NPC1L1 transfected cells. While the in-vitro release studies demonstrated significantly higher release rate of γ-T3 in the aqueous phase, the oral bioavailability of α-Tph (36%) was significantly higher than γ-T3 (9%). Consequent in-situ studies revealed significantly higher intestinal permeability for α-Tph compared to γ-T3 in rats. Moreover, NPC1L1 kinetic studies demonstrated higher Vmax and Km values for α-Tph compared to γ-T3. Collectively, these results indicate that intestinal permeability is the main contributing factor for higher bioavailability of α-Tph. Also, these results emphasize the potentially important role of intestinal permeability in the bioavailability of γ-T3 suggesting that enhancing its permeability would increase its oral bioavailability.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), accounting for 80% of lung cancers, is the leading cause of all cancer deaths. Previously, we demonstrated that delta-tocotrienol inhibits NSCLC cell proliferation, invasion and induces apoptosis by down-regulation of the Notch-1 signaling pathway. The objective of this study was to investigate whether delta-tocotrienol, could enhance the anticancer effects of cisplatin. Treatment with a combination of delta-tocotrienol and cisplatin resulted in a dose-dependent, significant inhibition of cell growth, migration, invasiveness, and induction of apoptosis in NSCLC cells, as compared to the single agents. This was associated with a decrease in NF-kappaB DNA binding activity, decrease in Notch-1, Hes-1, Bcl-2 and increase in cleaved Caspase-3 and PARP expressions. These results suggest that down-regulation of Notch-1, via inhibition of NF-kappaB signaling pathways by delta-tocotrienol and cisplatin, in combination, could provide a potential novel approach for tumor arrest in NSCLC, while lowering the effective dose of cisplatin.
Byron J. Richards
The only question a person might have after a thorough study oftocotrienol science would be, “Is there any health issue that tocotrienol E does not help?” The tocotrienol forms of vitamin E continue to be one of the most intensely researched nutrients in the world – with good reason. Seldom has there ever been any nutrient with such an impressive array of health benefits.
Vitamins are essential nutrients and therefore, they must come through the food we consume. Some vitamins are soluble in water while some are not. Vitamin E belongs to the class of fat soluble vitamins. The term “vitamin E” actually denotes two classes of compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols. Both of them show vitamin E activity. There is a subtle difference in structure between the tocopherols and tocotrienols, the latter being more unsaturated. There are four each of tocopherols and tocotrienols. The best known function of vitamin E is to act as an antioxidant. The tocotrienols are in the news because of their superior antioxidant activity.