PURPOSE: To evaluate the potential of the vitamin E compound alpha-tocotrienol as antifibrotic agent in vitro.
METHODS: Using human Tenon’s capsule fibroblast cultures, the antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects of the different vitamin E forms alpha-tocopherol, alpha-tocopheryl acetate, alpha-tocopheryl succinate and alpha-tocotrienol were compared with those of mitomycin C. To mimic subconjunctival and regular oral application in vivo, exposure time of serum-stimulated and serum-restimulated fibroblasts (SF and RF, respectively) to vitamin E forms was set at 6 days. Cultures were only exposed for 5 min to mitomycin C due to its known acute toxicity and to mimic the short-time intraoperative administration. Proliferation (expressed as % of control) was determined by DNA content quantification on days 2, 4 and 6, whereas cytotoxicity was assessed by cell morphology and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) release after 24 h.
RESULTS: alpha-Tocopherol and alpha-tocopheryl acetate stimulated growth of SF, but not RF. Reduction of fibroblast content by alpha-tocopheryl succinate was accompanied by increased G6PD release and necrosis. Contrary to alpha-tocopheryl succinate, 50 microM or repeatedly 20 microM of alpha-tocotrienol significantly inhibited proliferation without causing cellular toxicity (maximal effect: 46.8%). RF were more sensitive to this effect than SF. Mitomycin C 100-400 microg/ml showed a stronger antiproliferative effect than alpha-tocotrienol (maximal effect: 13.8%). Morphologic characteristics of apoptosis were more commonly found under treatment with mitomycin C.
CONCLUSIONS: Of the vitamin E forms tested, only alpha-tocotrienol significantly inhibited growth at non-toxic concentrations. In this in vitro study, antiproliferative effects of mitomycin C were stronger than those of alpha-tocotrienol.
Tocochromanols are a group of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols that collectively constitute vitamin E, an essential nutrient in the human diet. Tocochromanols are only synthesized in oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. Although they have similar antioxidant activities in vitro, the individual tocochromanols vary widely in their in vivo vitamin E activities. During the past several years, mutant and transgenic approaches in model organisms, particularly in Arabidopsis thaliana and Synechocystis sp. PCC6803, have allowed the full complement of core pathway genes to be isolated and studied. Pathway engineering with these genes has provided significant insights into the molecular genetic and biochemical control of tocochromanol biosynthesis in plants. The resulting knowledge base is driving efforts to manipulate the levels of this essential nutrient in staple crops for populations in the developed and developing world.
A normal-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (NP-HPLC) method for the determination of tocopherols and tocotrienols in hazelnuts is reported. Three extraction procedures (with and without saponification) were assayed; the best results were obtained with a simple solid-liquid extraction procedure. Chromatographic separation was achieved using an Inertsil 5 SI column using isocratic elution with hexane/1,4-dioxane (95.5:4.5, v/v) at a flow rate of 0.7 mL/min. The effluent was monitored by a series arrangement of a diode-array followed by a fluorescence detector. All compounds were separated in a short period of time (17 min). The method proved to be rapid, sensitive, reproducible and accurate, allowing the simultaneous determination of all vitamin E homologues.