Modulation of NFκB signalling pathway by tocotrienol: A systematic review

Nurul Alimah Abdul Nasir, Muhammad Zulfiqah Sadikan, Renu Agarwal

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr . 2021 Sep;30(3):537-555. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.202109_30(3).0020.


Tocotrienols have been reported to exert anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardio-protective and boneprotective effects through modulation of NFκB signalling pathway. The objective of this systematic review is to evaluate available literature showing the effect of tocotrienols on NFκB signalling pathway and identify the potential mechanisms involved. A comprehensive search was conducted using PubMed and SCOPUS databases using the keywords “tocotrienol” and “NFκB” or “nuclear factor kappa b”. Main inclusion criteria were English language original articles showing the effect of tocotrienol on NFκB signalling pathway. Fifty-nine articles were selected from the total of 117 articles initially retrieved from the literature search. Modulation of regulatory proteins and genes such as inhibition of farnesyl prenyl transferase were found to be the mechanisms underlying the tocotrienol-induced suppression of NFκB activation.

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Plasma antioxidants and risk of dementia in older adults

Manja Koch, Jeremy D Furtado, Héléne Toinét Cronjé, Steven T DeKosky, Annette L Fitzpatrick, Oscar L Lopez, Lewis H Kuller, Kenneth J Mukamal, Majken K Jensen

Alzheimers Dement (N Y) . 2021 Sep 5;7(1):e12208. doi: 10.1002/trc2.12208. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: Plant-based diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been associated with lower risk of dementia, but the specific role of antioxidants, a key class of bioactive phytochemicals, has not been well ascertained.

Methods: We measured antioxidants in a case-cohort study nested within the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study. We included 996 randomly selected participants and 521 participants who developed dementia, of which 351 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) during a median of 5.9 years of follow-up. We measured baseline plasma levels of retinol, α-, and γ-tocopherol; zeaxanthin and lutein (combined); beta-cryptoxanthin; cis-lycopene; trans-lycopene; α-carotene; and trans-β-carotene by organic phase extraction followed by chromatographic analysis and related these to neurologist-adjudicated risks of all-cause dementia and AD.

Results: Plasma retinol, α-, and γ-tocopherol, and carotenoids were not significantly related to risk of dementia or AD. Associations were not significant upon Bonferroni correction for multiple testing and were consistent within strata of sex, age, apolipoprotein E ε4 genotype, mild cognitive impairment at baseline, and intake of multivitamin, vitamin A or β-carotene, or vitamin E supplements. Higher trans-β-carotene tended to be related to a higher risk of dementia (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] per 1 standard deviation [SD] higher trans-β-carotene: 1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.00, 1.20) and α-carotene tended to be associated with higher risk of AD only (adjusted HR per 1 SD higher α-carotene: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.29).

Discussion: Plasma antioxidants were not significantly associated with risk of dementia or AD among older adults. Similar studies in younger populations are required to better understand the association between plasma antioxidants and dementia risk.

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Interactions between α-tocopherol and γ-oryzanol in oil-in-water emulsions

Ruru Liu, Ying Xu, Ming Chang, Ruijie Liu, Xingguo Wang

Food Chem . 2021 Sep 15;356:129648. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.129648. Epub 2021 Mar 22.


The interaction between antioxidants is affected by many factors, such as concentration, ratio and system. In this study, different concentrations of α-tocopherol and γ-oryzanol showed antagonistic effect in the oil-in-water emulsion, and the distribution of α-tocopherol increased in aqueous phase after combined with γ-oryzanol. The concentration could affect the degree of antagonism. According to fluorescence quenching, cyclic voltammetry measurements and the oxidative decomposition of antioxidants during storage, the inhibitory effect of γ-oryzanol on the regeneration of α-tocopherol was proposed to be responsible for the antagonism. This work can provide suggestions for studying the mechanism of antioxidant interaction in emulsion system.

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δ-Tocotrienol sensitizes and re-sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin via induction of G1 phase cell cycle arrest and ROS/MAPK-mediated apoptosis

Fabrizio Fontana, Monica Marzagalli, Michela Raimondi, Valentina Zuco, Nadia Zaffaroni, Patrizia Limonta

Cell Prolif . 2021 Sep 14;e13111. doi: 10.1111/cpr.13111. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Among gynaecologic malignancies, ovarian cancer (OC) represents the leading cause of death for women worldwide. Current OC treatment involves cytoreductive surgery followed by platinum-based chemotherapy, which is associated with severe side effects and development of drug resistance. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Herein, we evaluated the anti-tumour effects of Vitamin E-derived δ-tocotrienol (δ-TT) in two human OC cell lines, IGROV-1 and SKOV-3 cells.

Materials and methods: MTT and Trypan blue exclusion assays were used to assess δ-TT cytotoxicity, alone or in combination with other molecules. δ-TT effects on cell cycle, apoptosis, ROS generation and MAPK phosphorylation were investigated by flow cytometry, Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses. The synergism between δ-TT and chemotherapy was evaluated by isobologram analysis.

Results: We demonstrated that δ-TT could induce cell cycle block at G1-S phase and mitochondrial apoptosis in OC cell lines. In particular, we found that the proapoptotic activity of δ-TT correlated with mitochondrial ROS production and subsequent JNK and p38 activation. Finally, we observed that the compound was able to synergize with cisplatin, not only enhancing its cytotoxicity in IGROV-1 and SKOV-3 cells but also re-sensitizing IGROV-1/Pt1 cell line to its anti-tumour effects.

Conclusions: δ-TT triggers G1 phase cell cycle arrest and ROS/MAPK-mediated apoptosis in OC cells and sensitizes them to platinum treatment, thus representing an interesting option for novel chemopreventive/therapeutic strategies for OC.

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Oat ( Avena sativa) Extract against Oxidative Stress-Induced Apoptosis in Human Keratinocytes

Sooji Song, Yoon-Mi Lee, Yu Young Lee, Kyung-Jin Yeum

Molecules . 2021 Sep 13;26(18):5564. doi: 10.3390/molecules26185564.


Oat (Avena sativa) is well known for its various health benefits. The protective effect of oat extract against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in human keratinocytes HaCaT was determined. First, extracts of two varieties of oat, Daeyang and Choyang, were analyzed for fat-soluble antioxidants such as α-tocotrienol, γ-oryzanols, lutein and zeaxanthin using an UPLC system and for antioxidant activity using a DPPH assay. Specifically, an 80% ethanol extract of Daeyang oat (Avena sativa cv. Daeyang), which had high amounts of antioxidants and potent radical scavenging activity, was further evaluated for protective effect against oxidative stress-induced cell death, intracellular reactive oxygen species levels, the phosphorylation of DNA damage mediating genes such as H2AX, checkpoint kinase 1 and 2, and p53 and the activation of apoptotic genes such as cleaved caspase-3 and 7 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase in HaCaT cells. The Daeyang and Choyang oat 80% ethanol extracts had 26.9 and 24.1 mg/100 g γ-oryzanols, 7.69 and 8.38 mg/100 g α-tocotrienol, 1.25 and 0.34 mg/100 g of lutein and 1.20 and 0.17 mg/100 g of zeaxanthin, respectively. The oat 80% ethanol extract treatment (Avena sativa cv. Daeyang) had a protective effect on oxidative stress-induced cell death in HaCaT cells. In addition, the oat 80% ethanol extracts led to a significant decrease in the intracellular ROS level at a concentration of 50-200 μg/mL, the attenuation of DNA damage mediating genes and the inhibition of apoptotic caspase activities in a dose dependent manner (50-200 μg/mL). Thus, the current study indicates that an oat (Avena sativa cv. Daeyang) extract rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols, avenanthramides, γ-oryzanols, tocotrienols and carotenoids, has a protective role against oxidative stress-induced keratinocyte injuries and that oat may a useful source for oxidative stress-associated skin damage.

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Bioactive Electrospun Fibers of Poly(ε-Caprolactone) Incorporating α-Tocopherol for Food Packaging Applications

Raluca P Dumitriu, Elena Stoleru, Geoffrey R Mitchell, Cornelia Vasile, Mihai Brebu

Molecules . 2021 Sep 10;26(18):5498. doi: 10.3390/molecules26185498.


Antioxidant activity is an important feature for food contact materials such as packaging, aiming to preserve freshness and retard food spoilage. Common bioactive agents are highly susceptible to various forms of degradation; therefore, protection is required to maintain functionality and bioavailability. Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), a biodegradable GRAS labeled polymer, was used in this study for encapsulation of α-tocopherol antioxidant, a major component of vitamin E, in the form of electrospun fibers. Rheological properties of the fiber forming solutions, which determine the electrospinning behavior, were correlated with the properties of electrospun fibers, e.g., morphology and surface properties. Interactions through hydrogen bonds were evidenced between the two components. These have strong effect on structuration of macromolecular chains, especially at low α-tocopherol amounts, decreasing viscosity and elastic modulus. Intra-molecular interactions in PCL strengthen at high α-tocopherol amounts due to decreased solvation, allowing good structural recovery after cease of mechanical stress. Morphologically homogeneous electrospun fibers were obtained, with ~6 μm average diameter. The obtained fibers were highly hydrophobic, with fast release in 95% ethanol as alternative simulant for fatty foods. This induced good in vitro antioxidant activity and significant in vivo reduction of microbial growth on cheese, as determined by respirometry. Therefore, the electrospun fibers from PCL entrapping α-tocopherol as bioactive agent showed potential use in food packaging materials.

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The effect of α-tocopherol, α- and γ-tocotrienols on amyloid-β aggregation and disaggregation in vitro

Nor Faeizah Ibrahim, Hamizah Shahirah Hamezah, Daijiro Yanagisawa, Mayumi Tsuji, Yuji Kiuchi, Kenjiro Ono, Ikuo Tooyama

Biochem Biophys Rep . 2021 Sep 10;28:101131. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrep.2021.101131. eCollection 2021 Dec.


One of the neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-causing neurodegeneration and consequent memory deterioration, and eventually, cognitive decline-is amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregation forming amyloid plaques. Our previous study showed the potential of a tocotrienol-rich fraction-a mixture of naturally occurring of vitamin E analogs-to inhibit Aβ aggregation and restore cognitive function in an AD mouse model. The current study examined the effect of three vitamin E analogs-α-tocopherol (α-TOC), α-tocotrienol (α-T3), and γ-tocotrienol (γ-T3)-on Aβ aggregation, disaggregation, and oligomerization in vitro. Thioflavin T (ThT) assay showed α-T3 reduced Aβ aggregation at 10 μM concentration. Furthermore, both α-T3 and γ-T3 demonstrated Aβ disaggregation, as shown by the reduction of ThT fluorescence. However, α-TOC showed no significant effect. We confirmed the results for ThT assays with scanning electron microscopy imaging. Further investigation in photo-induced cross-linking of unmodified protein assay indicated a reduction in Aβ oligomerization by γ-T3. The present study thus revealed the individual effect of each tocotrienol analog in reducing Aβ aggregation and oligomerization as well as disaggregating preformed fibrils.

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Effects of eye drops containing a mixture of 3% diquafosol sodium and tocopherol acetate (vitamin E) on the ocular surface of murine dry eye

Lan Li, Rujun Jin, Ying Li, Hee Su Yoon, Hyeon Jeong Yoon, Kyung Chul Yoon

Cutan Ocul Toxicol . 2021 Sep 8;1-9. doi: 10.1080/15569527.2021.1973022. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: To investigate the efficacy of topical application of 3% diquafosol sodium (DQS) and tocopherol (TCP) acetate mixtures in a mouse model of experimental dry eye (EDE).

Methods: After exposure to desiccating stress for 5 days, eye drops consisting of 3% DQS alone, 0.01% TCP alone, or 3% DQS and 0.005% or 0.01% TCP mixture were applied for the treatment of EDE. Tear volume, tear film break-up time (TBUT), corneal fluorescein staining scores (CFSS), and tear film lipid layer grades (TFLLG) were measured at 0, 5 and 10 days after treatment. The 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate assay (DCFDA) for reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for malondialdehyde (MDA), and flow cytometry for CD4 + interferon (IFN)-γ+ T cells were evaluated on the ocular surface at 10 days after treatment. In addition, levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and chemokine CC motif ligand 4 (CCL4) in the conjunctiva were measured using a multiplex immunobead assay, and conjunctival goblet cells were counted by periodic acid-Schiff staining at 10 days after treatment.

Results: Both the TCP mixture groups indicated a significant improvement in TBUT, ROS production, and MDA concentrations compared to those in the DQS alone group. Furthermore, the 0.01% TCP mixture group also showed higher tear film lipid layer grades and conjunctival goblet cell density and lower corneal fluorescein staining scores, number of CD4 + IFN-γ+ T cells, and levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, and CCL4 than the DQS alone group (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Application of eye drops containing the mixture of DQS and TCP could stabilize the tear film lipid layer, improve TBUT and corneal epithelial damages, decrease ROS production, inflammatory molecules, and T cells, and increase conjunctival goblet cell density on the ocular surface. Topical DQS and TCP mixtures may have a greater therapeutic effect on clinical signs, oxidative damage, and inflammation of dry eye than DQS eye drops.

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Clarification of the Complexation Behaviour of 2,6-di-O-Methylated β-Cyclodextrin and Vitamin E and Radical Scavenging Ability of the Complex in Aqueous Solution

Shigesaburo Ogawa, Haruka Katsuragi, Katsuya Iuchi, Setsuko Hara

J Oleo Sci . 2021 Sep 8. doi: 10.5650/jos.ess21064. Online ahead of print.


The precise understanding of the behaviour of vitamin E (α-tocopherol; Toc) complexed with cyclodextrin (CD) additives in aqueous solution is a fundamental issue for further development of their aqua-related biological applications. In this study, the solubilisation and complexation behaviours of Toc with methyl-substituted CD derivatives and the radical scavenging ability of the resulting complexes were precisely investigated in water media. Several problems were encountered upon pre-dissolving Toc in an organic solvent prior to the addition to the water media, such as enhancement of the dispersibility and decrease in the complexation capacity. Additionally, dispersions were obtained in some cases when mixing CD and Toc even in the absence of an organic solvent; therefore, to perform the measurements, a transparent solution was prepared via filtration with a nanopore filter. Consequently, unexpectedly, the addition of certain CD methylated derivatives did not always enhance the solubility of Toc significantly. However, 2,6-di-O-methylated β-CD (2,6-DMCD) formed a water-soluble inclusion complex with Toc, effectively enhancing its solubility. A phase solubility study indicated the formation of 1:2 or 1:3 Toc/CD inclusion complexes, and the interaction of 2,6-DMCD with both the chromanol head and the phytol chain of Toc was revealed by 2D ROESY nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. The interaction between 2,6-DMCD and the chromanol head was also confirmed for a 2,6-DMCD-2,2,5,7,8-pentamethyl-6-chromanol inclusion complex. Additionally, a rapid scavenging effect for molecularly dissolved Toc was demonstrated even in a system comprising a chromanol head directly encapsulated by CD. Hence, this work elucidated the precise complexation and radical scavenging ability of 2,6-DMCD-Toc in an aqueous solution, which paves the way for its biological applications.

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