Gamma-Tocotrienol (gamma-T3), a HMG CoA reductase inhibitor, was previously shown to stimulate the intracellular degradation of apolipoprotein B (apoB) in HepG2 cells. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of gamma-T3 on the proteasome dependent co-translational degradation and the proteasome independent post-translational degradation of apoB. Previous studies have shown that apoB translocation across the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane governs the co-translational degradative pathway of apoB. Therefore, we first examined the effects of gamma-T3 on this pathway using a specific translocation assay derived from HepG2 cells. Our results indicated that gamma-T3 reduced the efficiency of apoB translocation across the ER membrane, suggesting that co-translational degradation may be partially involved. Evidence of an ER associated post-translational degradation was also provided upon pre-treating digitonin-permeabilized HepG2 cells with a proteasome inhibitor, lactacystin. When chased for 2h, ER degradation of apoB was observed and was further enhanced in the presence of gamma-T3 versus untreated control, in spite of proteasome inhibition. Combined with the ability of ALLN, a proteasome and cysteine protease inhibitor, to block the post-translational degradation of apoB, the data suggest that gamma-T3 diverted more apoB to a cytosolic proteasomal dependent and possibly an ER-associated proteasomal independent degradation pathways.
Potential antiproliferative effects of tocotrienols, the major vitamin E component in palm oil, were investigated on the growth of both estrogen-responsive (ER+) MCF7 human breast cancer cells and estrogen-unresponsive (ER-) MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, and effects were compared with those of alpha-tocopherol (alphaT). The tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) of palm oil inhibited growth of MCF7 cells in both the presence and absence of estradiol with a nonlinear dose-response but such that complete suppression of growth was achieved at 8 microg/mL. MDA-MB-231 cells were also inhibited by TRF but with a linear dose-response such that 20 microg/mL TRF was needed for complete growth suppression. Separation of the TRF into individual tocotrienols revealed that all fractions could inhibit growth of both ER+ and ER- cells and of ER+ cells in both the presence and absence of estradiol. However, the gamma- and delta-fractions were the most inhibitory. Complete inhibition of MCF7 cell growth was achieved at 6 microg/mL of gamma-tocotrienol/delta-tocotrienol (gammaT3/deltaT3) in the absence of estradiol and 10 microg/mL of deltaT3 in the presence of estradiol, whereas complete suppression of MDA-MB-231 cell growth was not achieved even at concentrations of 10 microg/mL of deltaT3. By contrast to these inhibitory effects of tocotrienols, alphaT had no inhibitory effect on MCF7 cell growth in either the presence or the absence of estradiol, nor on MDA-MB-231 cell growth. These results confirm studies using other sublines of human breast cancer cells and demonstrate that tocotrienols can exert direct inhibitory effects on the growth of breast cancer cells. In searching for the mechanism of inhibition, studies of the effects of TRF on estrogen-regulated pS2 gene expression in MCF7 cells showed that tocotrienols do not act via an estrogen receptor-mediated pathway and must therefore act differently from estrogen antagonists. Furthermore, tocotrienols did not increase levels of growth-inhibitory insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBP) in MCF7 cells, implying also a different mechanism from that proposed for retinoic acid inhibition of estrogen-responsive breast cancer cell growth. Inhibition of the growth of breast cancer cells by tocotrienols could have important clinical implications not only because tocotrienols are able to inhibit the growth of both ER+ and ER- phenotypes but also because ER+ cells could be growth-inhibited in the presence as well as in the absence of estradiol. Future clinical applications of TRF could come from potential growth suppression of ER+ breast cancer cells otherwise resistant to growth inhibition by antiestrogens and retinoic acid.
To evaluate skin penetration of various vitamin E homologs, a 5% solution of either alpha-tocopherol, alpha-tocotrienol, or gamma-tocotrienol in polyethylene glycol was topically applied to SKH-1 hairless mice. After 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 h (n = four per time point and four per vitamin E homolog), the skin was washed, the animals killed, the skin rapidly removed, frozen on dry ice, and a biopsy taken and sectioned: stratum corneum (two uppermost, 5-micron sections–SC1 and SC2), epidermis (next two 10-micron sections–E1 and E2), papillary dermis (next 100 microns, PD), dermis (next 400 microns, D), and subcutaneous fat (next 100 microns, SF). SC1 contained the highest vitamin E concentrations per mu thickness. To compare the distribution of the various vitamin E forms into the skin layers, the percentage of each form was expressed per its respective total. Most surprising was that the largest fraction of skin vitamin E following topical application was found in the deeper subcutaneous layers–the lowest layers, PD (40 +/- 15%) and D (36 +/- 15%), contained the major portion of the applied vitamin E forms. Although PD only represents about 16% of the total skin thickness, it contains sebaceous glands–lipid secretory organs, and, thus, may account for the vitamin E affinity for this layer. Hence, applied vitamin E penetrates rapidly through the skin, but the highest concentrations are found in the uppermost 5 microns.
To assess the efficacy of various forms of vitamin E in protection of skin from UV-light-induced oxidative stress, vitamin E (tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil, TRF) was applied to mouse skin and the contents of antioxidants before and after exposure to UV-light were measured. Four polypropylene plastic rings (1 cm2) were glued onto the animals’ backs, and 20 microliters 5% TRF in polyethylene glycol-400 (PEG) was applied to the skin circumscribed by two rings and 20 microliters PEG to the other two rings. After 2 h, the skin was washed and half of the sites were exposed to UV-irradiation (2.8 mW/cm2 for 29 mi: 3 MED). TRF treatment (n = 19 mice) increased mouse skin alpha-tocopherol 28 +/- 16-fold, alpha-tocotrienol 80 +/- 50-fold, gamma-tocopherol 130 +/- 108-fold, and gamma-tocotrienol 51 +/- 36-fold. A significantly higher percentage of alpha-tocopherol was present in the skin as compared with that in the applied TRF. After UV-irradiation, all vitamin E forms decreased significantly (p < .01), while a larger proportion of the vitamin E remained in PEG-treated (approximately 80%) compared with TRF-treated (approximately 40%) skin. Nonetheless, vitamin E concentrations in irradiated TRF-treated skin were significantly higher than in the nonirradiated PEG-treated (control) skin (p < .01). Thus, UV-irradiation of skin destroys its antioxidants: however, prior application of TRF to mouse skin results in preservation of vitamin E.
Tocotrienols are a form of vitamin E, having an unsaturated isoprenoid side-chain rather than the saturated side-chain of tocopherols. The tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) from palm oil contains alpha-tocopherol and a mixture of alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienols. Earlier studies have shown that tocotrienols display anticancer activity. We previously reported that TRF, alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienols inhibited proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer cells with 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of 180, 90, 30 and 90 microg/mL, respectively, whereas alpha-tocopherol had no effect at concentrations up to 500 microg/mL. Further experiments with estrogen receptor-positive MCF-7 cells showed that tocotrienols also inhibited their proliferation, as measured by [3H] thymidine incorporation. The IC50s for TRF, alpha-tocopherol, alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienols were 4, 125, 6, 2 and 2 microg/mL, respectively. Tamoxifen, a widely used synthetic antiestrogen inhibits the growth of MCF-7 cells with an IC50 of 0.04 microg/mL. We tested 1:1 combinations of TRF, alpha-tocopherol and the individual tocotrienols with tamoxifen in both cell lines. In the MDA-MB-435 cells, all of the combinations were found to be synergistic. In the MCF-7 cells, only 1:1 combinations of gamma- or delta-tocotrienol with tamoxifen showed a synergistic inhibitory effect on the proliferative rate and growth of the cells. The inhibition by tocotrienols was not overcome by addition of excess estradiol to the medium. These results suggest that tocotrienols are effective inhibitors of both estrogen receptor-negative and -positive cells and that combinations with tamoxifen should be considered as a possible improvement in breast cancer therapy.
We previously found no difference in healthy young adults’ plasma cholesterols between palmolein and olive oil as the major dietary lipid, although the former is high in palmitic acid (16:0) but the latter in oleic acid (18:1 cis). In the experiment reported here we compared the effects of palmolein against another monounsaturated oil, highly oleic sunflower oil (HOSO), on plasma cholesterol in both young and middle-aged healthy adults. The test oils were provided as frying oil of potato crisps (150 g/day in men; 100 g/day in women) against low-fat background diets in free-living motivated volunteers. The design was a randomised double-blind 4-week/3-week crossover trial. Compliance was monitored with continuous dietary diaries and by measuring (fasting) plasma lipid fatty-acid pattern. Plasma lipids and vitamin-E compounds were measured at the start and twice at the end of each test period. In combined young plus older subjects (n = 42) mean plasma total and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) values were both 7% (significantly) lower on HOSO than on palmolein, but because high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) was also 5% lower, the LDL-c/HDL-c ratio was only 3% lower on HOSO than on palmolein. The difference between the present results with HOSO and previous results with olive oil both compared against palmolein suggest that olive oil is associated with higher plasma cholesterols than other monounsaturated oils. In both the young and older subgroup, LDL-c was lower on HOSO but because HDL-c moved down too in the young subgroup, the LDL-c/HDL-c ratio was lower on HOSO only in the older subjects. Palmolein has an unusual pattern of E vitamins, with a high content of tocotrienols, notably the gamma-isomer. Unlike alpha-tocopherol however, there was no sign of these tocotrienols in subjects’ plasmas.
Tocotrienols from palm oil showed significant ability to inhibit oxidative damage induced by ascorbate-Fe2+ and photosensitization, involving different mechanisms, in rat liver microsomes. The tocotrienol-rich fraction from palm oil (TRF), being tried as a more economical and efficient substitute for alpha-tocopherol, showed time- and concentration-dependent inhibition of protein oxidation as well as lipid peroxidation. It was more effective against protein oxidation. The extent of inhibition by TRF varied with different peroxidation products such as conjugated dienes, lipid hydroperoxides and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Among the constituents of TRF, gamma-tocotrienol was the most effective followed by its alpha- and delta-isomers. In general, at a low concentration of 5 microM, TRF was able to prevent oxidative damage to significant extent (37% inhibition of protein oxidation and 27-30% of lipid peroxidation at 1 h of incubation). The protective ability of TRF (30.1% at 5 microM with TBARS formation) was significantly higher than that of the dominant form of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol (16.5% under same conditions). Hence our studies indicate that this fraction from palm oil can be considered as an effective natural antioxidant supplement capable of protecting cellular membranes against oxidative damage.
Sundry mevalonate-derived constituents (isoprenoids) of fruits, vegetables and cereal grains suppress the growth of tumors. This study estimated the concentrations of structurally diverse isoprenoids required to inhibit the increase in a population of murine B16(F10) melanoma cells during a 48-h incubation by 50% (IC50 value). The IC50 values for d-limonene and perillyl alcohol, the monoterpenes in Phase I trials, were 450 and 250 micromol/L, respectively; related cyclic monoterpenes (perillaldehyde, carvacrol and thymol), an acyclic monoterpene (geraniol) and the end ring analog of beta-carotene (beta-ionone) had IC50 values in the range of 120-150 micromol/L. The IC50 value estimated for farnesol, the side-chain analog of the tocotrienols (50 micromol/L) fell midway between that of alpha-tocotrienol (110 micromol/L) and those estimated for gamma- (20 micromol/L) and delta- (10 micromol/L) tocotrienol. A novel tocotrienol lacking methyl groups on the tocol ring proved to be extremely potent (IC50, 0.9 micromol/L). In the first of two diet studies, experimental diets were fed to weanling C57BL female mice for 10 d prior to and 28 d following the implantation of the aggressively growing and highly metastatic B16(F10) melanoma. The isomolar (116 micromol/kg diet) and the Vitamin E-equivalent (928 micromol/kg diet) substitution of d-gamma-tocotrienol for dl-alpha-tocopherol in the AIN-76A diet produced 36 and 50% retardations, respectively, in tumor growth (P < 0.05). In the second study, melanomas were established before mice were fed experimental diets formulated with 2 mmol/kg d-gamma-tocotrienol, beta-ionone individually and in combination. Each treatment increased (P < 0.03) the duration of host survival. Our finding that the effects of individual isoprenoids were additive suggests the possibility that one component of the anticarcinogenic action of plant-based diets is the tumor growth-suppressive action of the diverse isoprenoid constituents of fruits, vegetables and cereal grains.
1. alpha-Tocopherol (alpha-T) and gamma-tocotrienol (gamma-T) were supplemented continuously for 8 weeks in the diets of normal rats and rats chemically induced with cancer using diethylnitrosamine (DEN), 2-acetylaminofluorene (AAF) and partial hepatectomy. Hepatocarcinogenesis was followed by determining the plasma gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase (GGT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities as well as placental glutathione S-transferase (PGST) and GGT activities histochemically, at 4-week intervals. 2. Male Rattus norvegicus were supplemented alpha-T and gamma-T at two different doses of 30 and 300 mg/kg diet. The supplementation was started at three different times: simultaneously with DEN administration; 4 weeks; and 8 weeks after DEN administration. 3. Elevation of plasma GGT activities and formation of PGST and GGT positive foci were attenuated significantly (P < 0.05) when alpha-T and gamma-T were supplemented simultaneously with cancer induction. Supplementation begun 4 and 8 weeks after cancer induction did not affect plasma enzyme activities and formation of enzyme-positive foci. 4. alpha-T was more effective than gamma-T, and a lower dose of 30 mg/kg was found to be more effective in reducing the severity of hepatocarcinogenesis.
The mechanism of oxidation of ascorbic acid in mouse skin homogenates by UV light was investigated by measuring ascorbate free radical formation using electron spin resonance signal formation. Addition of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol or alpha-tocotrienol) had no effect, whereas short-chain homologues (2,5,7,8-tetramethyl-6-hydroxychroman-2-carboxylic acid [Trolox] and 2,2,5,7,8-pentamethyl-6-hydroxychromane [PMC]) accelerated ascorbate oxidation. The similar hydrophilicity of ascorbate, Trolox and PMC increased their interaction, thus rapidly depleting ascorbate. When dihydrolipoic acid was added simultaneously with the vitamin E homologues, the accelerated ascorbate oxidation was prevented. This was due to the regeneration of ascorbate and PMC from their free radicals by a recycling mechanism between ascorbate, vitamin E homologues and dihydrolipoic acid. Potentiation of antioxidant recycling may be protective against UV irradiation-induced damage. The rate of ascorbate oxidation in the presence of vitamin E homologues was enhanced by a photosensitizer (riboflavin) but was not influenced by reactive oxygen radical quenchers, superoxide dismutase or 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide. These experimental results suggest that the UV irradiation-induced ascorbate oxidation in murine skin homogenates is caused by photoactivated reactions rather than reactive oxygen radical reactions.