Protective Effect of Alpha-Tocopherol in Deltamethrin Induced Immunotoxicity

Kumar A, Sharma R, Rana D, Sharma N

Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018 Aug 1. doi: 10.2174/1871530318666180801144822. [Epub ahead of print]



α-Tocopherol is the active form of vitamin E which have various biological functions. However, the exact molecular mechanism of its action is not fully understood. Thus, the main objective of the current study is to determine the contribution of α-tocopherol in counteraction of the apoptogenic signaling pathways induced by deltamethrin in murine thymocytes and splenocytes.


Deltamethrin (25 µM) induces apoptosis at 18 h through activation of reactive oxygen species, caspases and depletion of glutathione in thymocytes and splenocytes. MTT assay results have shown that α-tocopherol (10 and 50 µg/ml) when added along with Deltamethrin (25µM), increases the viability of thymocytes and splenocytes in a concentration-dependent manner. The α-tocopherol treatment reduces the early markers of cell death (ROS and caspase3 activation) significantly. Further, the depleted GSH by deltamethrin, has been also restored by α-tocopherol. At 18 h, α-tocopherol (50 µg/ml) significantly reduced the Deltamethrin induced cell death. In additional, phenotyping and cytokines assay have demonstrated that alpha-tocopherol significantly ameliorated the altered immune functions.


These findings indicate that α-tocopherol shows immunoprotective effects in Deltamethrin induced splenic and thymic apoptosis by inhibiting oxidative stress and caspase-dependent apoptogenic pathways.

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Tocotrienols: the unsaturated sidekick shifting new paradigms in vitamin E therapeutics.

Kanchi MM, Shanmugam MK, Rane G, Sethi G, Kumar AP

Drug Discov Today. 2017 Aug 5. pii: S1359-6446(17)30137-X. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2017.08.001. [Epub ahead of print]


Vitamin E family members: tocotrienols and tocopherols are widely known for their health benefits. Decades of research on tocotrienols have shown they have diverse biological activities such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, neuroprotective and skin protection benefits, as well as improved cognition, bone health, longevity and reduction of cholesterol levels in plasma. Tocotrienols also modulate several intracellular molecular targets and, most importantly, have been shown to improve lipid profiles, reduce total cholesterol and reduce the volume of white matter lesions in human clinical trials. This review provides a comprehensive update on the little-known therapeutic potentials of tocotrienols, which tocopherols lack in a variety of inflammation-driven diseases.

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Many tocopherols, one vitamin E.

Azzi A.

Mol Aspects Med. 2017 Jun 17. pii: S0098-2997(17)30041-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2017.06.004. [Epub ahead of print]


Four tocopherols are available in nature and are absorbed with the diet, but only one RRR-α-tocopherol satisfies the criteria of being a vitamin. The biological activity of the different tocopherols studied in the rat by the resorption-gestation test has been inconsistently extrapolated to human beings where the tocopherols have no influence on a successful pregnancy. Diminution of RRR-α-tocopherol intake results in diseases characterized by ataxia, whose pathogenetic mechanism, despite vigorous claims, has not been clarified. The calculation of the Daily Reference Intake (DRI), necessary to prevent disease, is based on an obsolete test, the peroxide-induced erythrocyte hemolysis, called the gold standard, but of highly questioned validity. If many epidemiological studies have given positive results, showing prevention by high vitamin E containing diets of cardiovascular events, neurodegenerative disease, macular degeneration and cancer, the clinical confirmatory intervention studies were mostly negative. On the positive side, besides preventing vitamin E deficiency diseases, vitamin E has shown efficacy as anti-inflammatory and immune boosting compound. It has also shown some efficacy in protecting against nonalcoholic hepato-steatosis. At a molecular level, vitamin E and some of its metabolites have shown capacity of regulating cell signaling and modulating gene transcription.

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Reduction of oxidative-nitrosative stress underlies anticataract effect of topically applied tocotrienol in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

Abdul Nasir NA, Agarwal R, Sheikh Abdul Kadir SH, Vasudevan S, Tripathy M, Iezhitsa I, Mohammad Daher A, Ibrahim MI, Mohd Ismail N.

PLoS One. 2017 Mar 28;12(3):e0174542. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174542. eCollection 2017.


Cataract, a leading cause of blindness, is of special concern in diabetics as it occurs at earlier onset. Polyol accumulation and increased oxidative-nitrosative stress in cataractogenesis are associated with NFκB activation, iNOS expression, ATP depletion, loss of ATPase functions, calpain activation and proteolysis of soluble to insoluble proteins. Tocotrienol was previously shown to reduce lens oxidative stress and inhibit cataractogenesis in galactose-fed rats. In current study, we investigated anticataract effects of topical tocotrienol and possible mechanisms involved in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Diabetes was induced in Sprague Dawley rats by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin. Diabetic rats were treated with vehicle (DV) or tocotrienol (DT). A third group consists of normal, non-diabetic rats were treated with vehicle (NV). All treatments were given topically, bilaterally, twice daily for 8 weeks with weekly slit lamp monitoring. Subsequently, rats were euthanized and lenses were subjected to estimation of polyol accumulation, oxidative-nitrosative stress, NFκB activation, iNOS expression, ATP levels, ATPase activities, calpain activity and total protein levels. Cataract progression was delayed from the fifth week onwards in DT with lower mean of cataract stages compared to DV group (p<0.01) despite persistent hyperglycemia. Reduced cataractogenesis in DT group was accompanied with lower aldose reductase activity and sorbitol level compared to DV group (p<0.01). DT group also showed reduced NFκB activation, lower iNOS expression and reduced oxidative-nitrosative stress compared to DV group. Lenticular ATP and ATPase and calpain 2 activities in DT group were restored to normal. Consequently, soluble to insoluble protein ratio in DT group was higher compared to DV (p<0.05). In conclusion, preventive effect of topical tocotrienol on development of cataract in STZ-induced diabetic rats could be attributed to reduced lens aldose reductase activity, polyol levels and oxidative-nitrosative stress. These effects of tocotrienol invlove reduced NFκB activation, lower iNOS expression, restoration of ATP level, ATPase activities, calpain activity and lens protein levels.

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Tocotrienol-rich fraction prevents cellular aging by modulating cell proliferation signaling pathways.

Khor SC, Mohd Yusof YA, Wan Ngah WZ, Makpol S.

Clin Ter. 2015 Mar-Apr;166(2):e81-90.



Vitamin E has been suggested as nutritional intervention for the prevention of degenerative and age-related diseases. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the underlying mechanism of tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) in delaying cellular aging by targeting the proliferation signaling pathways in human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs).


Tocotrienol-rich fraction was used to treat different stages of cellular aging of primary human diploid fibroblasts viz. young (passage 6), pre-senescent (passage 15) and senescent (passage 30). Several selected targets involved in the downstream of PI3K/AKT and RAF/MEK/ERK pathways were compared in total RNA and protein.


Different transcriptional profiles were observed in young, pre-senescent and senescent HDFs, in which cellular aging increased AKT, FOXO3, CDKN1A and RSK1 mRNA expression level, but decreased ELK1, FOS and SIRT1 mRNA expression level. With tocotrienol-rich fraction treatment, gene expression of AKT, FOXO3, ERK and RSK1 mRNA was decreased in senescent cells, but not in young cells. The three down-regulated mRNA in cellular aging, ELK1, FOS and SIRT1, were increased with tocotrienol-rich fraction treatment. Expression of FOXO3 and P21Cip1 proteins showed up-regulation in senescent cells but tocotrienol-rich fraction only decreased P21Cip1 protein expression in senescent cells.


Tocotrienol-rich fraction exerts gene modulating properties that might be responsible in promoting cell cycle progression during cellular aging.

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Nrf2, a master regulator of detoxification and also antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other cytoprotective mechanisms, is raised by health promoting factors.

Pall ML, Levine S

2015 Feb 25;67(1):1-18


The transcription factor Nrf2, nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2, activates the transcription of over 500 genes in the human genome, most of which have cytoprotective functions. Nrf2 produces cytoprotection by detoxification mechanisms leading to increased detoxification and excretion of both organic xenobiotics and toxic metals; its action via over two dozen genes increases highly coordinated antioxidant activities; it produces major anti-inflammatory changes; it stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis and otherwise improves mitochondrial function; and it stimulates autophagy, removing toxic protein aggregates and dysfunctional organelles. Health-promoting nutrients and other factors act, at least in part by raising Nrf2 including: many phenolic antioxidants; gamma- and delta-tocopherols and tocotrienols; long chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA; many carotenoids of which lycopene may be the most active; isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables; sulfur compounds from allium vegetables; terpenoids. Other health promoting, Nrf2 raising factors include low level oxidative stress (hormesis), exercise and caloric restriction. Raising Nrf2 has been found to prevent and/or treat a large number of chronic inflammatory diseases in animal models and/or humans including various cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, lung diseases, diseases of toxic liver damage, cancer (prevention), diabetes/metabolic syndrome/obesity, sepsis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy. Lesser evidence suggests that raising Nrf2 may lower 16 other diseases. Many of these diseases are probable NO/ONOO(-) cycle diseases and Nrf2 lowers effects of NO/ONOO(-) cycle elements. The most healthful diets known, traditional Mediterranean and Okinawan, are rich in Nrf2 raising nutrients as apparently was the Paleolithic diet that our ancestors ate. Modern diets are deficient in such nutrients. Nrf2 is argued to be both lifespan and healthspan extending. Possible downsides to too much Nrf2 are also discussed. Nrf2 is not a magic bullet but is likely to be of great importance in health promotion, particularly in those regularly exposed to toxic chemicals.

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Tocotrienol Rich Fraction Reverses Age-Related Deficits in Spatial Learning and Memory in Aged Rats.

Taridi NM, Abd Rani N, Abd Latiff A, Wan Ngah WZ, Mazlan M.

Little is known about the effect of vitamin E on brain function. Therefore, in this study we evaluated the effect of tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF) on behavioral impairment and oxidative stress in aged rats. Thirty-six male Wistar rats (young: 3-months-old; aged: 21-months-old) were treated with either the control (olive oil) or TRF (200 mg/kg) for 3 months. Behavioral studies were performed using the open field test and Morris water maze (MWM) task. Blood was taken for assessment of DNA damage, plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) and vitamin E, and erythrocyte antioxidant enzyme activity. Brains were also collected to measure vitamin E levels. Results showed that aged rats exhibited reduced exploratory activity, enhanced anxiety and decreased spatial learning and memory compared with young rats. DNA damage and plasma MDA were increased, and vitamin E levels in plasma and brain were reduced in aged rats. Aged rats supplemented with TRF showed a markedly reduced level of anxiety, improved spatial learning and memory, reduced amount and severity of DNA damage, a reduced level of MDA, and increased levels of antioxidant enzyme activity and plasma/brain vitamin E compared with age-matched controls. In conclusion, TRF supplementation reverses spatial learning and memory decline and decreases oxidative stress in aged rats.

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Rice bran: a novel functional ingredient.

Sharif MK, Butt MS, Anjum FM, Khan SH.

Rice (Oryza sativa) is the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies. It provides more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by the human. It is the second leading cereal crop and staple food of half of the world’s population. It is grown in at least 114 countries with global production of 645 million tons; share of Asian farmers is about 90% of the total produce. Rice bran, brown outer layer of rice kernel, is mainly composed of pericarp, aleurone, subaleurone layer, and germ. It contains appreciable quantities of nutrients like protein, fat, and dietary fiber. Furthermore, it contains substantial amount of minerals like K, Ca, Mg, and Fe. Presence of antioxidants like tocopherols, tocotrienols, and γ-oryzanol also brighten prospects of rice bran utilization for humans as functional ingredient to mitigate the life-threatening disorders. Moreover, in the developing countries, budding dilemma of food crisis, arising due to lower crop yields and escalating population, needs to utilize each pent of available resources. To provide enough food to all people, there is the holistic approach of using the by-products generated during food processing and preparations. Rice is being processed in well-established industry, but the major apprehension is the utilization of its by-products; rice bran (5-8%) and polishing (2-3%) that are going as waste. Rice processing or milling produces several streams of materials including milled rice, bran, and husk. In developing countries, rice bran is considered as a by-product of the milling process and commonly used in animal feed or discarded as a waste. The potential of producing rice bran at the global level is 29.3 million tons annually, whereas the share of Pakistan is worked out to be 0.5 million tons. In present paper, attempt has been made to highlight the significance of these valuable but neglected ingredients under various headings.

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Reversal of myoblast aging by tocotrienol rich fraction posttreatment.

Lim JJ, Wan Ngah WZ, Mouly V, Abdul Karim N.

Skeletal muscle satellite cells are heavily involved in the regeneration of skeletal muscle in response to the aging-related deterioration of the skeletal muscle mass, strength, and regenerative capacity, termed as sarcopenia. This study focused on the effect of tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF) on regenerative capacity of myoblasts in stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS). The myoblasts was grouped as young control, SIPS-induced, TRF control, TRF pretreatment, and TRF posttreatment. Optimum dose of TRF, morphological observation, activity of senescence-associated β -galactosidase (SA- β -galactosidase), and cell proliferation were determined. 50  μ g/mL TRF treatment exhibited the highest cell proliferation capacity. SIPS-induced myoblasts exhibit large flattened cells and prominent intermediate filaments (senescent-like morphology). The activity of SA- β -galactosidase was significantly increased, but the proliferation capacity was significantly reduced as compared to young control. The activity of SA- β -galactosidase was significantly reduced and cell proliferation was significantly increased in the posttreatment group whereas there was no significant difference in SA- β -galactosidase activity and proliferation capacity of pretreatment group as compared to SIPS-induced myoblasts. Based on the data, we hypothesized that TRF may reverse the myoblasts aging through replenishing the regenerative capacity of the cells. However, further investigation on the mechanism of TRF in reversing the myoblast aging is needed.

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Gamma-tocotrienol modulated gene expression in senescent human diploid fibroblasts as revealed by microarray analysis

Makpol S, Zainuddin A, Chua KH, Mohd Yusof YA, Ngah WZ.

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2013;2013:454328. doi: 10.1155/2013/454328. Epub 2013 Mar 24.

The effect of γ -tocotrienol, a vitamin E isomer, in modulating gene expression in cellular aging of human diploid fibroblasts was studied. Senescent cells at passage 30 were incubated with 70  μ M of γ -tocotrienol for 24 h. Gene expression patterns were evaluated using Sentrix HumanRef-8 Expression BeadChip from Illumina, analysed using GeneSpring GX10 software, and validated using quantitative RT-PCR. A total of 100 genes were differentially expressed (P < 0.001) by at least 1.5 fold in response to γ -tocotrienol treatment. Amongst the genes were IRAK3, SelS, HSPA5, HERPUD1, DNAJB9, SEPR1, C18orf55, ARF4, RINT1, NXT1, CADPS2, COG6, and GLRX5. Significant gene list was further analysed by Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA), and the Normalized Enrichment Score (NES) showed that biological processes such as inflammation, protein transport, apoptosis, and cell redox homeostasis were modulated in senescent fibroblasts treated with γ -tocotrienol. These findings revealed that γ -tocotrienol may prevent cellular aging of human diploid fibroblasts by modulating gene expression.

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