Tocopherols and tocotrienols are being increasingly recognized to have an important role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. It has been reported that they protect low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and tissues from oxidative stress and that tocotrienols can reduce plasma cholesterol levels. Two isocratic high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods for simultaneous analysis of tocopherols, tocotrienols, and cholesterol in muscle tissue were developed. Method A involves basic saponification of the sample, but causes losses of the gamma- and delta-homologs of vitamin E. Method B does not involve saponification, thereby protecting the more sensitive homologs. Both permit rapid analysis of multiple samples and neither requires specialized equipment. These methods may provide techniques useful in simultaneous assessment of oxidative stress status (OSS) and cholesterol levels.

A simple high-performance liquid chromatographic method using fluorescence detection was developed for the determination of vitamin E especially delta-, gamma- and alpha-tocotrienols in human plasma. The method entailed direct injection of plasma sample after deproteinization using a 3:2 mixture of acetonitrile-tetrahydrofuran. The mobile phase comprised 0.5% (v/v) of distilled water in methanol. Analyses were run at a flow-rate of 1.5 ml/min with the detector operating at an excitation wavelength of 296 nm and emission wavelength of 330 nm. This method is specific and sensitive, with a quantification limit of approximately 40, 34 and 16 ng/ml for alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienol, respectively. The mean absolute recovery values were about 98% while the within-day and between-day relative standard deviation and percent error values of the assay method were all less than 12.0% for alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienol. The calibration curve was linear over a concentration range of 40-2500, 30-4000 and 16-1000 ng/ml for alpha-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienol, respectively. Application of the method in a bioavailability study for determination of the above compounds was also demonstrated.