In vitro tocotrienols (T3s) have potent vitamin E antioxidant activity, but unlike tocopherols can inhibit cholesterol synthesis by suppressing 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutarylCoA (HMG-CoA) reductase. Because hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease and oxidative modification of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) may be involved in atherogenesis, we investigated whether daily supplements of placebo, or alpha-, gamma-, or delta- (alpha-, gamma-, or delta-) tocotrienyl acetates would alter serum cholesterol or LDL oxidative resistance in hypercholesterolemics in a double-blind placebo controlled study. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive placebo (n = 13), alpha- (n = 13), gamma- (n = 12), or delta- (n = 13) tocotrienyl acetate supplements (250 mg/d). All subjects followed a low-fat diet for 4 weeks, then took supplements with dinner for the following 8 weeks while still continuing diet restrictions. Plasma alpha- and gamma-tocopherols were unchanged by supplementation. Plasma T3s were undetectable initially and always in the placebo group. Following supplementation in the respective groups plasma concentrations were: alpha-T3 0.98 +/- 0.80 micromol/l, gamma-T3 0.54 +/- 0.45 micromol/l, and delta-T3 0.09 +/- 0.07 micromol/l. Alpha-T3 increased in vitro LDL oxidative resistance (+22%, p <.001) and decreased its rate of oxidation (p <. 01). Neither serum or LDL cholesterol nor apolipoprotein B were significantly decreased by tocotrienyl acetate supplements. This study demonstrates that: (i) tocotrienyl acetate supplements are hydrolyzed, absorbed, and detectable in human plasma; (ii) tocotrienyl acetate supplements do not lower cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic subjects on low-fat diets; and (iii) alpha-T3 may be potent in decreasing LDL oxidizability.
An oral administration of gamma-tocotrienol (gamma-T3) or gamma-tocopherol (gamma-Toc) to male rats caused an increase of the concentration of 2,7,8-trimethyl-2-(beta-carboxyethyl)-6-hydroxy chroman (LLU-alpha, gamma-CEHC), a natriuretic compound, in plasma with a T(max) of 9 h. The configuration at C-2 of LLU-alpha produced from gamma-T3 or gamma-Toc was assigned as S-form by an HPLC equipped with a chiral column. These data indicated that LLU-alpha was produced not only from gamma-Toc but also gamma-T3, without racemization at C-2 in rats.
Cellular damage induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) in normal tissues has been implicated in the etiology of several human ailments. Among the subcellular organelles, damage to mitochondria is considered crucial and can lead to cytotoxicity and cell death. However, the same damage, if it is selectively induced in cancer tissues can lead to its cure. Hence analyzing the mechanisms of such damage and its modulation may result in better prevention or cure. Using mitochondria derived from rat brain/liver as well as sarcoma 180 ascites cells, we have examined the mechanisms of damage to lipid, as assessed by different products of lipid peroxidation and to proteins, as determined by loss of enzyme activity and protein oxidation. Mechanisms involved, in terms of scavenging of ROS have been determined using pulse radiolysis for hydroxyl radical and histidine destruction assay for singlet oxygen. Various ROS were generated using gamma-radiation, photosensitization etc. under different conditions. Some novel porphyrins, with potential uses in photodynamic therapy also were used as photosensitizers. Our study shows that ROS can induce significant oxidative damage in mitochondria from both normal and tumor tissues and this can be inhibited by natural antioxidants like tocotrienols, nicotinamide and caffeine. Damage, on the other hand, can be enhanced by deuteration of the buffer and oxygenation. Our results hence demonstrated that mitochondria were sensitive to damage by ROS and its modulation may have potential uses in prevention of the disease in normal tissues; if damage can be selectively induced in tumor, it can lead to its regression.
The present study aims to examine the effects of a palm-oil-derived vitamin E mixture containing tocotrienol (approximately 70%) and tocopherol (approximately 30%) on plasma lipids and on the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in rabbits given a 2% cholesterol diet. Eighteen New Zealand White rabbits (2.2-2.8 kg) were divided into three groups; group 1 (control) was fed a normal diet, group 2 (AT) was fed a 2% cholesterol diet and group 3 (PV) was fed a 2% cholesterol diet with oral palm vitamin E (60 mg/kg body weight) given daily for 10 weeks. There were no differences in the total cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels between the AT and PV groups. The PV group had a significantly higher concentrations of HDL-c and a lower TC/HDL-c ratio compared to the AT group (P < 0.003). The aortic tissue content of cholesterol and atherosclerotic lesions were comparable in both the AT and PV groups. However, the PV group had a lower content of plasma and aortic tissue malondialdehyde (P < 0.005). Our findings suggest that despite a highly atherogenic diet, palm vitamin E improved some important plasma lipid parameters, reduced lipid peroxidation but did not have an effect on the atherosclerotic plaque formation.
The vitamin E component of palm oil provides a rich source of tocotrienols which have been shown previously to be growth inhibitory to two human breast cancer cell lines: responsive MCF7 cells and unresponsive MDA-MB-231 cells. Data presented here shows that the tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) of palm oil and individual fractions (alpha, gamma and delta) can also inhibit the growth of another responsive human breast cancer cell line, ZR-75-1. At low concentrations in the absence of oestrogen tocotrienols stimulated growth of the ZR-75-1 cells, but at higher concentrations in the presence as well as in the absence of oestradiol, tocotrienols inhibited cell growth strongly. As for MCF7 cells, alpha-tocopherol had no effect on growth of the ZR-75-1 cells in either the absence or presence of oestradiol. In studying the effects of tocotrienols in combination with antioestrogens, it was found that TRF could further inhibit growth of ZR-75-1 cells in the presence of tamoxifen (10(-7) M and 10(-8) M). Individual tocotrienol fractions (alpha, gamma, delta) could inhibit growth of ZR-75-1 cells in the presence of 10(-8) M oestradiol and 10(-8) M pure antioestrogen ICI 164,384. The immature mouse uterine weight bioassay confirmed that TRF could not exert oestrogen antagonist action in vivo. These results provide evidence of wider growth-inhibitory effects of tocotrienols beyond MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, and with an oestrogen-independent mechanism of action, suggest a possible clinical advantage in combining administration of tocotrienols with antioestrogen therapy.