Vitamin E is an essential nutrient with antioxidant activity. Vitamin E is comprised of eight members, alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherols and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienols. All forms of vitamin E are initially metabolized by omega-oxidation, which is catalyzed by cytochrome P450 enzymes. The steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR) is a nuclear receptor that regulates drug clearance in the liver and intestine via induction of genes involved in drug and xenobiotic metabolism. We show here that all four tocotrienols specifically bind to and activate SXR, whereas tocopherols neither bind nor activate. Surprisingly, tocotrienols show tissue-specific induction of SXR target genes, particularly CYP3A4. Tocotrienolsup-regulate expression of CYP3A4 but not UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A1 (UGT1A1) or multidrug resistance protein-1 (MDR1) in primary hepatocytes. In contrast, tocotrienols induce MDR1 and UGT1A1 but not CYP3A4 expression in intestinal LS180 cells. We found that nuclear receptor corepressor (NCoR) is expressed at relatively high levels in intestinal LS180 cells compared with primary hepatocytes. The unliganded SXR interacts with NCoR, and this interaction is only partially disrupted by tocotrienols. Expression of a dominant-negative NCoR enhanced the ability oftocotrienols to induce CYP3A4 in LS180 cells, suggesting that NCoR plays an important role in tissue-specific gene regulation by SXR. Our findings provide a molecular mechanism explaining how vitamin supplements affect the absorption and effectiveness of drugs. Knowledge of drug-nutrient interactions may help reduce the incidence of decreased drug efficacy.

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Previous reports showed that vitamin E in palm oil consists of various isomers of tocopherols and tocotrienols [alpha-tocopherol (alpha-T), alpha-tocotrienol, gamma-tocopherol, gamma-tocotrienol, and delta-tocotrienol), and this is normally analyzed using silica column HPLC with fluorescence detection. In this study, an HPLC-fluorescence method using a C30 silica stationary phase was developed to separate and analyze the vitamin E isomers present in palm oil. In addition, an alpha-tocomonoenol (alpha-T1) isomer was quantified and characterized by MS and NMR. (alpha-T1 constitutes about 3-4% (40+/-5 ppm) of vitamin E in crude palm oil (CPO) and is found in the phytonutrient concentrate (350+/-10 ppm) from palm oil, whereas its concentration in palm fiber oil (PFO) is about 11% (430+/-6 ppm). The relative content of each individual vitamin E isomer before and after interesterification/transesterification of CPO to CPO methyl esters, followed by vacuum distillation of CPO methyl esters to yield the residue, remained the same except for alpha-T and gamma-T3. Whereas alpha-T constitutes about 36% of the total vitamin E in CPO, it is present at a level of 10% in the phytonutrient concentrate. On the other hand, the composition of gamma-T3 increases from 31% in CPO to 60% in the phytonutrient concentrate. Vitamin is present at 1160+/-43 ppm, and its concentrations in PFO and the phytonutrient concentrate are 4,040+/-41 and 13,780+/-65 ppm, respectively. The separation and quantification of alpha-T1 in palm oil will lead to more in-depth knowledge of the occurrence of vitamin E in palm oil.

Effect of dietary tocopherols and tocotrienols on the antioxidant status and lipid stability of chicken

Lanari MC, Hewavitharana AK, Becu C, de Jong S.

Meat Sci. 2004 Oct;68(2):155-62.

We determined the effect of dietary tocopherols and tocotrienols on the lipid stability of pre-cooked chicken breast and thigh. The birds were supplemented with one of two doses of a commercial mixture of tocopherols and tocotrienols (Oryza1, Oryza2) or one of two doses of all-rac α-tocopherol acetate (Toc1, Toc2). Diets were formulated so that Oryza1 and Toc1 and Oryza2 and Toc2 contained similar tocopherol concentrations. No quantifiable amounts of tocotrienols were found in either breast or thigh muscles. Tocotrienols present in the diet reduced muscle α-tocopherol concentration. The effect of Oryza1 on the tocopherol content in muscle and on its lipid stability was not significant. The Oryza2, Toc1 and Toc2 diets increased the α- and γ-tocopherol in breast and thigh muscles and enhanced their lipid stability. This improvement was only due to the antioxidant action of the tocopherols. Lipid stability of pre-cooked chicken was not enhanced by adding tocotrienols to a tocopherol supplement.