Disturbed oxidant/antioxidant status is involved in pathogenesis of anemia in end stage renal disease. There is evidence that vitamin E supplementation can increase blood hemoglobin in chronically hemodialyzed patients. However, the interindividual variation in response to the supplementation has not been fully addressed.
24 chronically hemodialyzed patients were supplemented with vitamin E (400 IU/day) in a period of two months. They had already been treated with erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA) and iron on a long-term basis, which was continued during the study period. A group of 20 healthy volunteers served as control subjects. Complete blood count, general biochemistry assays, the redox status by total thiols, oxidative stress by reactive oxygen metabolites, antioxidant status by biological antioxidant potential, and vitamin E (α- and γ- tocopherol) were measured before the start of supplementation, one month and two months later.
Overall, the vitamin E supplementation did not cause an increase of blood hemoglobin, hematocrit or red blood cells. However, 50 % of the patients with basal blood hemoglobin below 12.0 g/dL (N = 10) responded to the supplementation with its continuous increase. In addition, vitamin E exhibited a slight prooxidant effect only in the subgroup of patients with basal blood hemoglobin of ≥ 12.0 g/dL, two months after the start of supplementation (decreased total thiols: 300 ± 31 vs. 277 ± 36 µmol/L, p < 0.05; increased reactive oxygen metabolites: 183 ± 140 vs. 287 ± 112 CARR U, p > 0.05; decreased biological antioxidant potential: 2278 ± 150 vs. 2171 ± 126 µEq/L, p < 0.025), which coincided with their significantly increased serum α-tocopherol concentrations in comparison to the patients with basal blood hemoglobin below 12.0 g/dL (41.3 ± 7.2 vs. 59.9 ± 19.2 µmol/L, p < 0.025).
When treated with ESA and iron on a long-term basis, the response to the vitamin E supplementation in chronically hemodialyzed patients is largely dependent on their basal blood hemoglobin and serum vitamin E concentrations.