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May 2002

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Efficacy of the various forms of vitamin E

Effects of tocotrienols on life span and protein carbonylation in Caenorhabditis elegans.

To assess the efficiency of tocotrienols against oxidative damage, we have demonstrated in a model-system nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, that tocotrienol administration reduced the accumulation of protein carbonyl (a good indicator of oxidative damage during aging) and consequently extended the mean life span (LS), but not the maximum LS. Conversely, alpha-tocopherol acetate did not affect these parameters. As a way to evaluate the protective ability of tocotrienols against oxidative stress, the life spans of animals administrated tocotrienols before or after exposure to ultraviolet B-induced oxidative stress were measured. Ultraviolet B irradiation shortened the mean LS of animals, whereas preadministration of tocotrienols recovered the mean LS to that of unirradiated animals. Interestingly, postadministration also extended the mean LS more than that of unirradiated animals, and administration through the LS conferred greater protection. Thus, the administration of tocotrienols to animals results in a reduction of oxidative stress risks. These data indicated that tocotrienols merit further investigation as possible agents for antiaging and oxidative stress prevention. In addition, they suggest that C. elegans will continue to provide provocative clues into the mechanisms of aging.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2000 Jun;55(6):B280-5

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 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

Antioxidant effects of tocotrienols in patients with hyperlipidemia and carotid stenosis.

Antioxidants may have a role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. In the present trial, we investigated the antioxidant properties of Palm Vitee, a gamma-tocotrienol-, and alpha-tocopherol enriched fraction of palm oil, in patients with carotid atherosclerosis. Serum lipids, fatty acid peroxides, platelet aggregation and carotid artery stenosis were measured over an 18-month period in fifty patients with cerebrovascular disease. Change in stenosis was measured with duplex ultrasonography. Ultrasound scans were done at six months, twelve months, and yearly thereafter. Bilateral duplex ultrasonography revealed apparent carotid atherosclerotic regression in seven and progression in two of the 25 tocotrienol patients, while none of the control group exhibited regression and ten of 25 showed progression (P < 0.002). Serum thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, an ex vivo indicator of maximal platelet peroxidation, decreased in the treatment group from 1.08 +/- 0.70 to 0.80 +/- 0.55 microM/L (P < 0.05) after 12 mon, and in the placebo group, they increased nonsignificantly from 0.99 +/- 0.80 to 1.26 +/- 0.54 microM/L. Both tocotrienol and placebo groups displayed significantly attenuated collagen-induced platelet aggregation responses (P < 0.05) as compared with entry values. Serum total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride values remained unchanged in both groups, as did the plasma high density lipoprotein cholesterol values. These findings suggest that antioxidants, such as tocotrienols, may influence the course of carotid atherosclerosis.

Lipids 1995 Dec;30(12):1179-83

Dietary antioxidant vitamins and death from coronary heart disease in postmenopausal women.

BACKGROUND: The role of dietary antioxidant vitamins in preventing coronary heart disease has aroused considerable interest because of the knowledge that oxidative modification of low-density lipoprotein may promote atherosclerosis. METHODS. We studied 34,486 postmenopausal women with no cardiovascular disease who in early 1986 completed a questionnaire that assessed, among other factors, their intake of vitamins A, E and C from food sources and supplements. During approximately seven years of follow-up (ending December 31, 1992), 242 of the women died of coronary heart disease. RESULTS. In analyses adjusted for age and dietary energy intake, vitamin E consumption appeared to be inversely associated with the risk of death from coronary heart disease. This association was particularly striking in the subgroup of 21,809 women who did not consume vitamin supplements (relative risks from lowest to highest quintile of vitamin E intake, 1.0, 0.68, 0.71, 0.42 and 0.42; P for trend 0.008). After adjustment for possible confounding variables, this inverse association remained (relative risks from lowest to highest quintile, 1.0, 0.70, 0.76, 0.32 and 0.38; P for trend, 0.004). There was little evidence that the intake of vitamin E from supplements was associated with a decreased risk of death from coronary heart disease, but the effects of high-dose supplementation and the duration of supplement use could not be definitely addressed. Intake of vitamins A and C did not appear to be associated with the risk of death form coronary heart disease. CONCLUSIONS. These results suggest that in postmenopausal women the intake of vitamin E from food is inversely associated with the risk of death from coronary heart disease and that such women can lower their risk without using vitamin supplements. By contrast, the intake of vitamins A and C was not associated with lower risks of dying from coronary disease.

N Engl J Med 1996 May 2;334(18):1156-62

Apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest in human and murine tumor cells are initiated by isoprenoids.

Diverse classes of phytochemicals initiate biological responses that effectively lower cancer risk. One class of phytochemicals, broadly defined as pure and mixed isoprenoids, encompasses an estimated 22,000 individual components. A representative mixed isoprenoid, gamma-tocotrienol, suppresses the growth of murine B16(F10) melanoma cells, and with greater potency, the growth of human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) and human leukemic (HL-60) cells. beta-Ionone, a pure isoprenoid, suppresses the growth of B16 cells and with greater potency, the growth of MCF-7, HL-60 and human colon adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) cells. Results obtained with diverse cell lines differing in ras and p53 status showed that the isoprenoid-mediated suppression of growth is independent of mutated ras and p53 functions. beta-Ionone suppressed the growth of human colon fibroblasts (CCD-18Co) but only when present at three-fold the concentration required to suppress the growth of Caco-2 cells. The isoprenoids initiated apoptosis and, concomitantly arrested cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Both suppress 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase activity. beta-Ionone and lovastatin interfered with the posttranslational processing of lamin B, an activity essential to assembly of daughter nuclei. This interference, we postulate, renders neosynthesized DNA available to the endonuclease activities leading to apoptotic cell death. Lovastatin-imposed mevalonate starvation suppressed the glycosylation and translocation of growth factor receptors to the cell surface. As a consequence, cells were arrested in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. This rationale may apply to the isoprenoid-mediated G1-phase arrest of tumor cells. The additive and potentially synergistic actions of these isoprenoids in the suppression of tumor cell proliferation and initiation of apoptosis coupled with the mass action of the diverse isoprenoid constituents of plant products may explain, in part, the impact of fruit, vegetable and grain consumption on cancer risk.

J Nutr 1999 Apr;129(4):804-13

Macular degeneration

Identification and quantitation of carotenoids and their metabolites in the tissues of the human eye.

There is increasing evidence that the macular pigment carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, may play an important role in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and other blinding disorders. Although it is well known that the retina and lens are enriched in these carotenoids, relatively little is known about carotenoid levels in the uveal tract and in other ocular tissues. Also, the oxidative metabolism and physiological functions of the ocular carotenoids are not fully understood. Thus, we have set out to identify and quantify the complete spectrum of dietary carotenoids and their oxidative metabolites in a systematic manner in all tissues of the human eye in order to gain better insight into their ocular physiology. Human donor eyes were dissected, and carotenoid extracts from ocular tissues [retinal pigment epithelium/choroid (RPE/choroid), macula, peripheral retina, ciliary body, iris, lens, vitreous, cornea, and sclera] were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Carotenoids were identified and quantified by comparing their chromatographic and spectral profiles with those of authentic standards. Nearly all ocular structures examined with the exception of vitreous, cornea, and sclera had quantifiable levels of dietary (3R,3'R,6'R)-lutein, zeaxanthin, their geometrical (E / Z) isomers, as well as their metabolites, (3R,3'S,6'R)-lutein (3'-epilutein) and 3-hydroxy-beta,epsilon-caroten-3'-one. In addition, human ciliary body revealed the presence of monohydroxycarotenoids and hydrocarbon carotenoids, while only the latter group was detected in human RPE/choroid. Uveal structures (iris, ciliary body, and RPE/choroid) account for approximately 50% of the eye’s total carotenoids and approximately 30% of the lutein and zeaxanthin. In the iris, these pigments are likely to play a role in filtering out phototoxic short-wavelength visible light, while they are more likely to act as antioxidants in the ciliary body. Both mechanisms, light screening and antioxidant, may be operative in the RPE/choroid in addition to a possible function of this tissue in the transport of dihydroxycarotenoids from the circulating blood to the retina. This report lends further support for the critical role of lutein, zeaxanthin, and other ocular carotenoids in protecting the eye from light-induced oxidative damage and aging.

Exp Eye Res 2001 Mar;72(3):215-23

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