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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine June 2001


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Vitamin E

Effects of vitamin E on lipid peroxidation in healthy persons.

CONTEXT: Oxidative stress may play a role in the development or exacerbation of many common diseases. However, results of prospective controlled trials of the effects of antioxidants such as vitamin E are contradictory. OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of supplemental vitamin E on lipid peroxidation in vivo in healthy adults. DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted March 1999 to June 2000. SETTING: A general clinical research center in a tertiary referral academic medical center. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty healthy men and women aged 18 to 60 years. INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomly assigned to receive placebo or alpha-tocopherol dosages of 200, 400, 800, 1200, or 2000 IU/d for 8 weeks (n = 5 in each group), followed by an 8-week washout period. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Three indices of lipid peroxidation, urinary 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and 2 isoprostanes, iPF(2alpha)-III and iPF(2alpha)-VI, measured by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and compared among the 6 groups at baseline, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks, and 1, 3, and 8 weeks after discontinuation. RESULTS: Circulating vitamin E levels increased in a dose-dependent manner during the study. No significant effect of vitamin E on levels of urinary 4-HNE or either isoprostane was observed. Mean (SEM) baseline vs week 8 levels of iPF(2alpha)-III were 154 (20.1) vs 168 (22.3) pg/mg of creatinine for subjects taking placebo; 165 (19.6) vs 234 (30.1) pg/mg for those taking 200 IU/d of vitamin E; and 195 (26.7) vs 213 (40.6) pg/mg for subjects taking 2000 IU/d. Corresponding iPF(2alpha)-VI levels were 1.43 (0.6) vs 1.62 (0.4) ng/mg of creatinine for subjects taking placebo; 1.64 (0.3) vs 1.24 (0.8) ng/mg for those taking 200 IU/d of vitamin E; and 1.83 (0.3) vs 1.94 (0.9) ng/mg for those taking 2000 IU/d. Baseline vs week 8 levels of 4-HNE were 0.5 (0.04) vs 0.4 (0.05) ng/mg of creatinine for subjects taking placebo; 0.4 (0.06) vs 0.5 (0.02) ng/mg with 200 IU/d of vitamin E; and 0.2 (0.02) vs 0.2 (0.1) ng/mg with 2000 IU/d. CONCLUSIONS: Our results question the rationale for vitamin E supplementation in healthy individuals. Specific quantitative indices of oxidative stress in vivo should be considered as entry criteria and for dose selection in clinical trials of antioxidant drugs and vitamins in human disease.

JAMA 2001 Mar 7;285(9):1178-82

Vitamin E regulation of mitochondrial superoxide generation.

The mitochondrion is the greatest source, as well as the target, of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Increasing evidence indicates that vitamin E can act as a biological modifier independently of its antioxidant activity. Experimental evidence available shows that vitamin E is capable of dose-dependently regulating mitochondrial generation of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. Vitamin E may modulate mitochondrial production and levels of superoxide by preventing electron leakage, by mediating the superoxide generation systems directly and/or by scavenging superoxide generated. By downregulating mitochondrial generation of superoxide and related ROS, vitamin E not only attenuates oxidative damage but also modulates the expression and activation of signal transduction pathways and other redox-sensitive biological modifiers.

Biol Signals Recept 2001 Jan-Feb;10(1-2):112-24

Suppression of tumor growth and metastasis by dietary fish oil combined with vitamins E and C and cisplatin.

PURPOSE: The anticancer activity of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 PUFA) has been shown in a large number of studies. This study was undertaken to analyze the combined effect of omega-3 PUFA and antioxidative vitamins on the level of spontaneous metastatic dissemination. The supportive effect of this dietary combination on chemotherapy with cisplatin (CP) was determined in parallel. METHODS: C57BL/6J mice bearing the Lewis lung carcinoma 3LL were fed ad libitum one of three isocaloric diets containing 5% soybean oil supplemented with 40 mg/kg alpha-tocopherol acetate (SO diet), or 4% fish oil plus 1% corn oil, and basal amounts of vitamin E (FO diet) or FO diet supplemented with vitamins E and C (FO+E+C diet). These diets were tested in combination with the conventional cytotoxic agent CP in a series of regimens. Tumor growth, feed consumption, body weight, lung metastasis and lung histology were followed. RESULTS: Both the FO dietary groups showed significantly lower tumor development than the SO group in all examined parameters, indicating that omega-3 PUFA have anticancer activity. However, the FO diet, in comparison with the FO+E+C diet induced a significantly slower rate of tumor growth, and lower metastatic load, as reflected in lung weight. The decrease in the anticancer activity of FO by the addition of vitamins E and C suggests that in situ oxidation of omega-3 PUFA underlies their anticancer action. It is thus proposed that oxidized omega-3 PUFA accumulates in the membranes and the cytosol of tumor cells, reducing their vitality and eventually leading to their death. No signs of anorexia or cachexia were observed in either FO group, in contrast to the SO group. CP treatment with the SO diet had no apparent therapeutic effect, while with the FO diets it reduced the metastatic load. The best regimen of this combined treatment was FO diet followed by CP treatment with FO diet supplemented with vitamins E and C after resection of the primary growth. This regimen could be translated to a combined therapy for human cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Diets enriched with omega-3 PUFA may have beneficial anticancer effects in particular when containing only basal amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin E or C. Furthermore, the addition of drugs which promote oxidation of omega-3 PUFA, such as ferrous salts (e.g. as prescribed for the treatment of anemia), may further increase these effects. However, the supportive effect of omega-3 PUFA in chemotherapy (e.g. with CP) increases when vitamins E and C are also included.

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2001;47(1):34-40

Vitamin E analog modulates UVB-induced signaling pathway activation and enhances cell survival.

We have recently shown that exposure of human keratinocytes to physiologic doses of ultraviolet B (UVB) activates epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/extracellular-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and p38 signaling pathways via reactive oxygen species, an effect that can be modulated by antioxidants. Trolox, a water-soluble vitamin E analog, is among the antioxidants that are currently being investigated for their preventive and protective potential against harmful effects of UV radiation to the skin. We found that Trolox inhibits both basal and UVB-induced intracellular H(2)O(2) generation in primary keratinocytes in a concentration-dependent manner. Trolox did not significantly affect UVB-induced phosphorylation of EGFR. Stronger inhibition was observed for ERK1/2 activation at lower, and for p38 activation at higher, concentrations of Trolox added to cells before exposure to UVB. Similarly different effects were found with regard to length of pretreatment with Trolox before UVB exposure-increasing inhibition for ERK1/2 activation at shorter, and for p38 activation at longer, pretreatment intervals. UVB-induced c-jun-N-terminal kinase activation was potently suppressed by Trolox. Also, increasing the pretreatment time of Trolox decreased the rate of cell death following UVB. In conclusion, UVB-induced signaling pathway activation is differentially modulated by Trolox. Further investigation into the time-dependent biologic activation of Trolox and its metabolic products, and modulation of signal transduction with cell outcome should facilitate development of rational strategies for pharmacologic applications.

Free Radic Biol Med 2001 Feb 15;30(4):425-32

Acute effects of oats and vitamin E on endothelial responses to ingested fat.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of oats and vitamin E on endothelial function following a high-fat meal in healthy adults as measured by brachial artery reactivity studies (BARS). METHODS: A total of 25 men and 25 women (N=50) were recruited from a community population to participate in this randomized, crossover study. All subjects were free of known vascular disease, and female subjects were postmenopausal. Subjects underwent BARS before and after a high-fat meal (50 gm fat) on three occasions 1 week apart, one each with vitamin E 800 IU, oatmeal containing 3 gm beta-glucan, or a comparable bowl of wheat cereal serving as a placebo, in random sequence. The ultrasonographer was blinded to treatment status. RESULTS: Endothelial function, as measured by brachial artery peak flow during one minute of post-occlusive hyperemia, declined significantly from baseline when the high-fat meal was consumed with the wheat cereal (-13.4%; p=0.02). There was no difference in brachial artery flow change before and after a high-fat meal with oats (+0.37%; p=0.77) or a high-fat meal with vitamin E (+1.87%; p=0.42). No significant differences in flow-mediated vasodilation before and after the high-fat meal were detected among the three supplements. CONCLUSIONS: Endothelial dysfunction induced by acute fat ingestion in healthy adults is apparently prevented by concomitant ingestion of oats or vitamin E, but not wheat. Nutrient distribution and meal composition may have important implications for cardiovascular health.

Am J Prev Med 2001 Feb;20(2):124-9

Does vitamin E decrease heart attack risk?

The hypothesis that oxidative stress has a role in atherosclerosis rests on a large body of experimental work carried out in animal models of heart disease. The situation is more complex in humans, in that the results from vitamin E supplementation trials have been conflicting. Nonetheless, there is emerging information that alpha-tocopherol may play a critical role in maintaining the function of key cellular components in the atherosclerotic process through its ability to inhibit the activity of protein kinase C, a key player in many signal transduction pathways. alpha-Tocopherol modulates pathways of platelet aggregation, endothelial cell nitric oxide production, monocyte/macrophage superoxide production and smooth muscle cell proliferation. Regulation of adhesion molecule expression and inflammatory cell cytokine production by alpha-tocopherol has also been reported. More studies are required to relate alpha-tocopherol intakes to optimal tissue responses in humans.

J Nutr 2001 Feb;131(2):395S-7S

Vitamin E inhibition of platelet aggregation is independent of antioxidant activity.

Vitamin E is the principal lipid-soluble antioxidant in human plasma, and some studies indicate that it may provide cardiovascular protection. To investigate putative mechanisms for vitamin E in this regard, the effect of vitamin E on vascular function and platelet aggregation was examined. In animal models of endothelial dysfunction, vitamin E improved the activity of endothelium-derived nitric oxide, and this effect was not dependent upon the antioxidant protection of LDL. In fact, vitamin E improved endothelial function in part due to the inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) stimulation. This activity of vitamin E was examined in platelets, and vitamin E inhibited platelet aggregation in part through a mechanism that involves PKC. Moreover, the platelet inhibitory activity of vitamin E was independent of its antioxidant action because platelet inhibition was still observed with isoforms of vitamin E that were devoid of antioxidant activity.

J Nutr 2001 Feb;131(2):374S-377S

Effect of dietary vitamin E supplementation on vascular reactivity of thoracic aorta in streptozotocin-diabetic rats.

The present study evaluated the effect of dietary vitamin E supplementation (1,000 mg/kg chow) on the alterations in vascular reactivity of streptozotocin-diabetic aorta of Wistar rats. After 12 weeks of treatment, thoracic aortic rings of rats were mounted in organ baths and contractile responses to phenylephrine and 5-hydroxytryptamine and relaxant responses to acetylcholine, calcium ionophore and sodium nitroprusside were assessed. Plasma vitamin E concentration as measured by HPLC was markedly decreased in diabetic rats and increased with dietary vitamin E supplementation. Induction of diabetes significantly impaired endothelium-dependent relaxations to acetylcholine and calcium ionophore in aortic rings, but did not change endothelium-independent relaxation to sodium nitroprusside. Vitamin E significantly improved the impaired endothelium-dependent relaxations, further it decreased the enhanced contractile response to phenylephrine and 5-hydroxytryptamine in diabetic rings. The mechanical denudation of endothelium or the chemical inhibition of endothelium-dependent relaxation with N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (100 micromol/l) significantly increased phenylephrine contractility in control rings and the rings of diabetic rats treated with vitamin E; such a difference was not observed in diabetic rats fed with normal diet. Liver and lung malondialdehyde concentrations, as an index of lipid peroxidation, were increased in diabetic rats and significantly decreased with vitamin E supplementation. It is concluded that dietary supplementation of vitamin E improved endothelial dysfunction in insulin-dependent model of uncontrolled diabetes, probably decreasing membranal lipid peroxidation.

Pharmacology 2001 Jan;62(1):56-64

Cypermethrin-induced oxidative stress in rat brain and liver is prevented by vitamin E or allopurinol.

Considering that the involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been implicated in the toxicity of various pesticides, this study was designed to investigate the possibility of oxidative stress induction by cypermethrin, a Type II pyrethroid. Either single (170 mg/kg) or repeated (75 mg/kg per day for 5 days) oral administration of cypermethrin was found to produce significant oxidative stress in cerebral and hepatic tissues of rats, as was evident by the elevation of the level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in both tissues, either 4 or 24 h after treatment. Much higher changes were observed in liver, increasing from a level of 60% at 4 h up to nearly 4 times the control at 24 h for single dose. Reduced levels (up to 20%) of total glutathione (total GSH), and elevation of conjugated dienes ( approximately 60% in liver by single dose at 4 h) also indicated the presence of an oxidative insult. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity, however, did not differ from control values for any dose or at any time point in cerebral and hepatic tissues. Pretreatment of rats with allopurinol (100 mg/kg, ip) or vitamin E (100 mg/kg per day, ig, for 3 days and a dose of 40 mg/kg on the 4th day) provided significant protection against the elevation of TBARS levels in cerebral and hepatic tissues, induced by single high dose of oral cypermethrin administration within 4 h. Thus, the results suggest that cypermethrin exposure of rats results in free radical-mediated tissue damage, as indicated by elevated cerebral and hepatic lipid peroxidation, which was prevented by allopurinol and vitamin E.

Toxicol Lett 2001 Jan 3;118(3):139-46

Endogenous ascorbate regenerates vitamin E in the retina directly and in combination with exogenous dihydrolipoic acid.

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is the major lipid-soluble antioxidant of retinal membranes whose deficiency causes retinal degeneration. Its antioxidant function is realized via scavenging peroxyl radicals as a result of which phenoxyl radicals of alpha-tocopherol are formed. Our hypothesis is that alpha-tocopherol phenoxyl radicals can be reduced by endogenous reductants in the retina, providing for alpha-tocopherol recycling. The results of this study demonstrate for the first time that: (i) endogenous ascorbate (vitamin C) in retinal homogenates and in rod outer segments is able to protect endogenous alpha-tocopherol against oxidation induced by UV-irradiation by reducing the phenoxyl radical of alpha-tocopherol, (ii) in the absence of ascorbate, neither endogenous nor exogenously added glutathione (GSH) is efficient in protecting alpha-tocopherol against oxidation; (iii) GSH does not substantially enhance the protective effect of ascorbate against alpha-tocopherol oxidation; (iv) exogenous dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA), although inefficient in direct reduction of the alpha-tocopherol phenoxyl radical, is able to enhance the protective effect of ascorbate by regenerating it from dehydroascorbate. Thus, regeneration of alpha-tocopherol from its phenoxyl radical can enhance its antioxidant effectiveness in the retina. The recycling of alpha-tocopherol opens new avenues for pharmacological approaches to enhance antioxidants of the retina.

Curr Eye Res 1995 Mar;14(3):181-9


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