Effects of vitamin E on neurodegenerative diseases: an update

Mehmet Arif Icer, Neslihan Arslan, Makbule Gezmen-Karadag

Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars) . 2021;81(1):21-33. doi: 10.21307/ane-2021-003.

Abstract

Vitamin E deficiency is associated with many neurological problems. Although the mechanisms of vitamin E action in neurodegenerative diseases are not clear, there are many possible mechanisms. Examples of such mechanisms are the protective effects of vitamin E against oxidative stress damage and its suppressive role in the expression of many genes involved in the development of neurodegeneration. Many studies have evaluated the relationship between vitamin E intake or vitamin E levels in body fluids and neurodegenerative diseases. Some studies concluded that vitamin E can play a protective role in neurodegeneration with respect to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), stroke and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Vitamin E supplementation was also associated with risk factors for some neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we discuss the possible effects of vitamin E on the development and course of AD, PD, stroke and ALS, and the potential mechanisms involved.

Vitamin E deficiency is associated with many neurological problems. Although the mechanisms of vitamin E action in neurodegenerative diseases are not clear, there are many possible mechanisms. Examples of such mechanisms are the protective effects of vitamin E against oxidative stress damage and its suppressive role in the expression of many genes involved in the development of neurodegeneration. Many studies have evaluated the relationship between vitamin E intake or vitamin E levels in body fluids and neurodegenerative diseases. Some studies concluded that vitamin E can play a protective role in neurodegeneration with respect to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), stroke and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Vitamin E supplementation was also associated with risk factors for some neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we discuss the possible effects of vitamin E on the development and course of AD, PD, stroke and ALS, and the potential mechanisms involved.

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Associations between vitamin E, oxidative stress markers, total homocysteine levels, and physical activity or cognitive capacity in older adults

Ahmad H Alghadir, Sami A Gabr, Shahnawaz Anwer, Heng Li

Sci Rep . 2021 Jun 18;11(1):12867. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-92076-4.

Abstract

This study examined the associations between vitamin E, oxidative stress markers, total homocysteine levels, and physical activity or cognitive capacity in older adults. One hundred and six older adults (62 men, 44 women) within the age range of 56-81 years participated. The Global Physical Activity Questionnaire and the Loewenstein Occupational Therapy Cognitive Assessment were used to assess physical activity and cognitive function, respectively. Vitamin E (e.g., α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol), oxidative stress markers (e.g., total antioxidant capacity and nitric oxide), and total homocysteine were estimated. There were significant associations between physical activity (high versus moderate versus poor) and all biomarkers (all p = 0.000, and p = 0.010 for γ-tocopherol). While total homocysteine and total antioxidant capacity were significantly associated with cognitive capacity (p = 0.000), vitamin E levels (e.g., α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol) and nitric oxide (p = 0.354, 0.103 and 0.060, respectively) were not related to cognitive capacity in older adults. This study concludes that physical activity was associated with Vitamin E, oxidative stress markers, total homocysteine, and cognitive capacity in older adults. Although cognitive capacity was associated with total homocysteine and total antioxidant capacity, it was unrelated to vitamin E levels and nitric oxide in older adults.

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Protective Effects of Vitamin E on Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Huikai Miao, Rongzhen Li, Dongni Chen, Jia Hu, Youfang Chen, Chunmei Xu, Zhesheng Wen

Ann Nutr Metab . 2021 Jun 18;1-11. doi: 10.1159/000515620. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Introduction: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common symptom, but prophylactic measures cannot still be carried out effectively. In addition, the efficacy of vitamin E in preventing peripheral neurotoxicity caused by chemotherapy is inconclusive. Therefore, we collected the relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and performed a meta-analysis to examine whether the vitamin E has a positive effect in CIPN.

Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane, and other databases in December 2019 for eligible trials. Two reviewers conducted the analysis independently when studies were homogeneous enough.

Results: Eight RCTs, involving 488 patients, were identified. Upon pooling these RCTs, patients who received vitamin E supplementation of 600 mg/day had a lower incidence of CIPN (risk ratio [RR] 0.31; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.14-0.65; p = 0.002) than the placebo group. Vitamin E played a key role in decreasing the incidence of peripheral neuropathy in the cisplatin chemotherapy group (RR 0.28; 95% CI 0.14-0.54; p = 0.0001). Moreover, vitamin E supplementation significantly decreased patients’ sural amplitude after 3 rounds of chemotherapy (RR -2.66; 95% CI -5.09 to -0.24; p = 0.03) in contrast with that of placebo supplementation, while no significant difference was observed when patients were treated with vitamin E after 6 rounds of chemotherapy. In addition, the vitamin E-supplemented group had better improvement in the neurotoxicity score and lower incidence of reflexes and distal paraesthesias than the control group.

Conclusion: Available data in this meta-analysis showed that vitamin E supplementation can confer modest improvement in the prevention of CIPN.

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Effect of dietary vitamins C and E on the risk of Parkinson’s disease: A meta-analysis

Min Cheol Chang, Sang Gyu Kwak, Soyoung Kwak

Clin Nutr . 2021 May 21;40(6):3922-3930. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.05.011. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background & aims: A neuroprotective effect of dietary vitamins C and E on Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been suggested, however, several human studies have reported controversial results. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis on the effect of vitamins C and E on the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted using the PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and SCOPUS databases for studies published up to January 23, 2021. We included studies that reported (1) intake of vitamins C and E using validated methods; (2) assessment of odds ratio (OR), relative risk (RR), or hazard ratio (HR); and (3) patients with PD identified by a neurologist, hospital records, or death certificates. The Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Software 2 program was used for statistical analyses of the pooled data.

Results: A total of 12 studies (four prospective cohort and eight case-control studies) were included in our meta-analysis. No significant risk reduction was observed in the high vitamin C intake group compared to low intake group. On the other hand, the high vitamin E intake group showed a significantly lower risk of development of PD than the low intake group (pooled OR = 0.799. 95% CI = 0.721 to 0.885).

Conclusions: We conclude that vitamin E might have a protective effect against PD, while vitamin C does not seem to have such an effect. However, the exact mechanism of the transport and regulation of vitamin E in the CNS remains elusive, and further studies would be necessary in this field.

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Vitamin E for the Prevention of Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: A meta-Analysis

Jie Chen, Haili Shan, Wenjun Yang, Jiali Zhang, Haibin Dai, Ziqi Ye

Front Pharmacol . 2021 May 13;12:684550. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.684550. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

Background: Vitamin E has been increasingly used to prevent chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) in recent years. However, it is still unclear whether vitamin E can effectively prevent CIPN. Methods: We searched all clinical studies in the Embase, Cochrane Library, Clinicaltrials.gov, and PubMed databases from inception to December 2020. We performed a meta-analysis of 9 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with 486 patients that compared the vitamin E group with the control group. Outcomes of the study were incidence of all-grade CIPN, incidence of severe CIPN, and the total neuropathy scores (TNS). Random effect models were used to make the meta-analysis results more cautious. Results: Notably, vitamin E significantly reduced the incidence of all-grade CIPN (overall risk ratio (RR) = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.36, 0.85, I2 = 77.3%, p = 0.007), and TNS (overall standard mean difference (SMD) = -0.64, 95% CI: 1.03, -0.25, I2 = 42.7%, p = 0.001). However, the results of the subgroup analysis, which included only double-blind RCTs, suggested that vitamin E did not significantly reduce the incidence of all-grade CIPN (overall RR = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.07, 4.06, I2 = 77.5%, p = 0.531). Moreover, there was no significant difference in the incidence of severe CIPN between these two arms (p = 0.440). Conclusion: The results of our meta-analysis suggests that vitamin E has a beneficial effect on the incidence and symptoms of CIPN. However, routine prophylactic use of vitamin E is still not recommended. Moreover, more high-quality double-blind RCTs are needed to further validate the effects of vitamin E in prevention of CIPN.

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Tocotrienols Ameliorate Neurodegeneration and Motor Deficits in the 6-OHDA-Induced Rat Model of Parkinsonism: Behavioural and Immunohistochemistry Analysis

Mangala Kumari, Premdass Ramdas, Ammu Kutty Radhakrishnan, Methil Kannan Kutty, Nagaraja Haleagrahara

Nutrients . 2021 May 10;13(5):1583. doi: 10.3390/nu13051583.

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease, which progresses over time, causing pathological depigmentation of the substantia nigra (SN) in the midbrain due to loss of dopaminergic neurons. Emerging studies revealed the promising effects of some nutrient compounds in reducing the risk of PD. One such nutrient compound that possess neuroprotective effects and prevents neurodegeneration is tocotrienol (T3), a vitamin E family member. In the present study, a single dose intracisternal injection of 250 µg 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) was used to induce parkinsonism in male Sprague Dawley (SD) rats. Forty-eight hours post injection, the SD rats were orally supplemented with alpha (α)- and gamma (γ)-T3 for 28 days. The neuroprotective effects of α- and γ-T3 were evaluated using behavioural studies and immunohistochemistry (IHC). The findings from this study revealed that supplementation of α- and γ-T3 was able to ameliorate the motor deficits induced by 6-OHDA and improve the neuronal functions by reducing inflammation, reversing the neuronal degradation, and preventing further reduction of dopaminergic neurons in the SN and striatum (STR) fibre density.

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Vitamin E: necessary nutrient for neural development and cognitive function

Maret G Traber

Proc Nutr Soc . 2021 Apr 26;1-8. doi: 10.1017/S0029665121000914. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Vitamin E, discovered in 1922, is essential for pregnant rats to carry their babies to term. However, 100 years later, the molecular mechanisms for the vitamin E requirement during embryogenesis remain unknown. Vitamin E’s role during pregnancy has been difficult to study and thus, a vitamin E-deficient (E-) zebrafish embryo model was developed. Vitamin E deficiency in zebrafish embryos initiates lipid peroxidation, depletes a specific phospholipid (DHA-phosphatidyl choline), causes secondary deficiencies of choline, betaine and critical thiols (such as glutathione), and dysregulates energy metabolism. Vitamin E deficiency not only distorts the carefully programmed development of the nervous system, but it leads to defects in several developing organs. Both the α-tocopherol transfer protein and vitamin E are necessary for embryonic development, neurogenesis and cognition in this model and likely in human embryos. Elucidation of the control mechanisms for the cellular and metabolic pathways involved in the molecular dysregulation caused by vitamin E deficiency will lead to important insights into abnormal neurogenesis and embryonic malformations.

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Analysis of expression of vitamin E-binding proteins in H2O2 induced SK-N-SH neuronal cells supplemented with α-tocopherol and tocotrienol-rich fraction

Aishatu Ali Chiroma, Huzwah Khaza'ai, Roslida Abd Hamid, Sui Kiat Chang, Zainul Amiruddin Zakaria, Zaida Zainal

PLoS One . 2020 Nov 24;15(11):e0241112. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241112. eCollection 2020.

Abstract

Natural α-tocopherol (α-TCP), but not tocotrienol, is preferentially retained in the human body. α-Tocopherol transfer protein (α-TTP) is responsible for binding α-TCP for cellular uptake and has high affinity and specificity for α-TCP but not α-tocotrienol. The purpose of this study was to examine the modification of α-TTP together with other related vitamin E-binding genes (i.e., TTPA, SEC14L2, and PI-TPNA) in regulating vitamin E uptake in neuronal cells at rest and under oxidative stress. Oxidative stress was induced with H2O2 for an hour which was followed by supplementation with different ratios of α-TCP and tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) for four hours. The cellular levels of vitamin E were quantified to determine bioavailability at cellular levels. The expression levels of TTPA, SEC14L2, and PI-TPNA genes in 0% α-TCP were found to be positively correlated with the levels of vitamin E in resting neuronal cells. In addition, the regulation of all the above-mentioned genes affect the distribution of vitamin E in the neuronal cells. It was observed that, increased levels of α-TCP secretion occur under oxidative stress. Thus, our results showed that in conclusion vitamin E-binding proteins may be modified in the absence of α-TCP to produce tocotrienols (TCT), as a source of vitamin E. The current study suggests that the expression levels of vitamin E transport proteins may influence the cellular concentrations of vitamin E levels in the neuronal cells.

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Cognitive function improvement with astaxanthin and tocotrienol intake: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Takahiro Sekikawa, Yuki Kizawa, Yanmei Li, Tsuyoshi Takara

J Clin Biochem Nutr . 2020 Nov;67(3):307-316. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.19-116. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Abstract

We examined the effects of the mixed ingestion of astaxanthin derived from Haematococcus pluvialis and tocotrienols on the cognitive function of healthy Japanese adults who feel a memory decline. Forty-four subjects were randomly but equally assigned to the astaxanthin-tocotrienols or placebo group. An astaxanthin-tocotrienols or placebo capsule was taken once daily before or after breakfast for a 12-week intervention period. The primary outcome was composite memory from the Cognitrax cognitive test, and the secondary outcomes were other cognitive functions and subjective symptoms for memory. Each group included 18 subjects in the efficacy analysis (astaxanthin-tocotrienols group, 55.4 ± 7.9 years; placebo group, 54.6 ± 6.9 years). The astaxanthin-tocotrienols group showed a significant improvement in composite memory and verbal memory in Cognitrax at Δ12 weeks compared with the placebo group. Additionally, the astaxanthin-tocotrienols group showed a significant improvement in the subjective symptom of “During the last week, have you had trouble remembering people’s names or the names of things?” compared with the placebo group after 12 weeks. No adverse events were observed in this study. The results demonstrated that taking an astaxanthin-tocotrienols combination improves the composite memory and verbal memory of Japanese adults who feel a memory decline (UMIN 000031758).

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Effects of vitamin E on stroke: a systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis

Hong Chuan Loh, Renly Lim, Kai Wei Lee, Chin Yik Ooi, Deik Roy Chuan, Irene Looi, Yuen Kah Hay, Nurzalina Abdul Karim Khan

Stroke Vasc Neurol . 2020 Oct 27;svn-2020-000519. doi: 10.1136/svn-2020-00051

Abstract

There are several previous studies on the association of vitamin E with prevention of stroke but the findings remain controversial. We have conducted a systematic review, meta-analysis together with trial sequential analysis of randomised controlled trials to evaluate the effect of vitamin E supplementation versus placebo/no vitamin E on the risk reduction of total, fatal, non-fatal, haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke. Relevant studies were identified by searching online databases through Medline, PubMed and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. A total of 18 studies with 148 016 participants were included in the analysis. There was no significant difference in the prevention of total stroke (RR (relative risk)=0.98, 95% CI 0.92-1.04, p=0.57), fatal stroke (RR=0.96, 95% CI 0.77-1.20, p=0.73) and non-fatal stroke (RR=0.96, 95% CI 0.88-1.05, p=0.35). Subgroup analyses were performed under each category (total stroke, fatal stroke and non-fatal stroke) and included the following subgroups (types of prevention, source and dosage of vitamin E and vitamin E alone vs control). The findings in all subgroup analyses were statistically insignificant. In stroke subtypes analysis, vitamin E showed significant risk reduction in ischaemic stroke (RR=0.92, 95% CI 0.85-0.99, p=0.04) but not in haemorrhagic stroke (RR=1.17, 95% CI 0.98-1.39, p=0.08). However, the trial sequential analysis demonstrated that more studies were needed to control random errors. Limitations of this study include the following: trials design may not have provided sufficient power to detect a change in stroke outcomes, participants may have had different lifestyles or health issues, there were a limited number of studies available for subgroup analysis, studies were mostly done in developed countries, and the total sample size for all included studies was insufficient to obtain a meaningful result from meta-analysis. In conclusion, there is still a lack of statistically significant evidence of the effects of vitamin E on the risk reduction of stroke. Nevertheless, vitamin E may offer some benefits in the prevention of ischaemic stroke and additional well-designed randomised controlled trials are needed to arrive at a definitive finding. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020167827.

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