Vitamin E is an essential nutrient of still increasing economic importance. Vitamin E derivatives include many nonracemic chiral compounds whose chirooptical characterization is scarcely described in the literature. We report the CD spectra of delta-tocopherol and its unsaturated analog delta-tocotrienol. TDDFT calculations demonstrate that the weak CD of delta-tocopherol is determined by the helicity of dihydropyrane ring. In addition, the moderate CD of delta-tocotrienol is due to the exciton interaction between the aromatic ring and the closest alkene group. Direct exciton-coupled CD calculations on structures generated by two different conformational sampling approaches reveal that, although such exciton coupling is expected to be weak, it is sufficient to explain the spectral differences between tocopherol and tocotrienol.

This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of three forms of vitamin E supplements following nicotine treatment on bone histomorphometric parameters in an adult male rat model. Rats were divided into seven groups: baseline (B, killed without treatment), control (C, normal saline for 4 months), nicotine (N, nicotine for 2 months), nicotine cessation (NC), tocotrienol-enhanced fraction (TEF), gamma-tocotrienol(GTT), and alpha-tocopherol (ATF). Treatments for the NC, TEF, GTT, and ATF groups were performed in two phases. For the first 2 months they were given nicotine (7 mg/kg), and for the following 2 months nicotine administration was stopped and treatments with respective vitamin E preparations (60 mg/kg) were commenced except for the NC group, which was allowed to recover without treatment. Rats in the N and NC groups had lower trabecular bone volume, mineral appositional rate (MAR), and bone formation rate (BFR/BS) and higher single labeled surface and osteoclast surface compared to the C group. Vitamin E treatment reversed these nicotine effects. Both the TEF and GTT groups, but not the ATF group, had a significantly higher trabecular thickness but lower eroded surface (ES/BS) than the C group. The tocotrienol-treated groups had lower ES/BS than the ATF group. The GTT group showed a significantly higher MAR and BFR/BS than the TEF and ATF groups. In conclusion, nicotine induced significant bone loss, while vitamin E supplements not only reversed the effects but also stimulated bone formation significantly above baseline values. Tocotrienol was shown to be slightly superior compared to tocopherol. Thus, vitamin E, especially GTT, may have therapeutic potential to repair bone damage caused by chronic smoking.

Vitamin E delta-tocotrienol levels in tumor and pancreatic tissue of mice after oral administration

Husain K, Francois RA, Hutchinson SZ, Neuger AM, Lush R, Coppola D, Sebti S, Malafa MP. Source

Pharmacology. 2009;83(3):157-63. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

Tocotrienols are natural vitamin E compounds that are known to have a neuroprotective effect at nanomolar concentration and anti-carcinogenic effect at micromolar concentration. In this report, we investigated the pharmacokinetics, tumor and pancreatic tissue levels, and toxicity of delta-tocotrienol in mice because of its anti-tumor activity against pancreatic cancer. Following a single oral administration of delta-tocotrienol at 100 mg/kg, the peak plasma concentration (C(max)) was 57 +/- 5 micromol/l, the time required to reach peak plasma concentration (T(max)) was 2 h and plasma half-life (t(1/2)) was 3.5 h. The delta-tocotrienol was cleared from plasma and liver within 24 h, but delayed from the pancreas. When mice were fed delta-tocotrienol for 6 weeks, the concentration in tumor tissue was 41 +/- 3.5 nmol/g. This concentration was observed with the oral dose (100 mg/kg) of delta-tocotrienol which inhibited tumor growth by 80% in our previous studies. Interestingly, delta-tocotrienol was 10-fold more concentrated in the pancreas than in the tumor. We observed no toxicity due to delta-tocotrienol as mice gained normal weight with no histopathological changes in tissues. Our data suggest that bioactive levels of delta-tocotrienol can be achieved in the pancreas following oral administration and supports its clinical investigation in pancreatic cancer.

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In vivo studies show that alpha-tocotrienol and gamma-tocotrienol accumulate in adipose tissue. Furthermore, a recent study reports that the oral administration of gamma-tocotrienol from a tocotrienol-rich fraction from palm oil (TRF) decreases body fat levels in rats. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of TRF and its components on adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes, which differentiated into adipocytes in the presence of 1.8 micromol/L insulin. TRF suppressed the insulin-induced mRNA expression of adipocyte-specific genes such as PPARgamma, adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (aP2), and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-alpha (C/EBPalpha) compared with the differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes into adipocytes only in the presence of insulin. To confirm the suppressive effect of TRF, the major components of TRF, such as alpha-tocotrienol, gamma-tocotrienol, and alpha-tocopherol, were investigated. Alpha-tocotrienol and gamma-tocotrienol decreased the insulin-induced PPARgamma mRNA expression by 55 and 90%, respectively, compared with insulin, whereas alpha-tocopherol increased the mRNA expression. In addition, gamma-tocotrienol suppressed the insulin-induced aP2 and C/EBPalpha mRNA expression, triglyceride accumulation, and PPARgamma protein levels compared with insulin. The current results also revealed that gamma-tocotrienol inhibited the insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt but not extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 in the insulin signaling pathway of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Thus, the antiadipogenic effect of TRF depends on alpha-tocotrienol and gamma-tocotrienol, and gamma-tocotrienol may be a more potent inhibitor of adipogenesis than alpha-tocotrienol. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that tocotrienol suppresses insulin-induced differentiation and Akt phosphorylation in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Furthermore, tocotrienol could act as an antiadipogenic vitamin in the nutrient-mediated regulation of body fat through its effects on differentiation.