Tocopherol (Toc) such as alpha-Toc has been expected to act as photochemopreventive agent of skin, but the effect of the other vitamin E forms [tocotrienols (T3)] has not been fully understood. We evaluated the anti-inflammatory effect of T3 on UVB-induced inflammatory reaction using immortalized human keratinocytes and hairless mice. gamma-T3 suppressed UVB-induced PGE(2) production while similar alpha-Toc doses had no effect. The anti-inflammatory actions of gamma-T3 were explained by its ability to reduce UVB-induced inflammatory gene and protein expression [cyclooxgenase-2 (COX-2), interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1]. Western blot analysis revealed gamma-T3 inhibited p38, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase activation. In HR-1 hairless mice, oral T3 suppressed UVB-induced changes in skin thickness, COX-2 protein expression, and hyperplasia, but alpha-Toc did not. These results suggest T3 has potential use to protect against UVB-induced skin inflammation.
Initially discovered in 1938 as a “fertility factor,” vitamin E now refers to eight different isoforms that belong to two categories, four saturated analogues (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) called tocopherols and four unsaturated analogues referred to as tocotrienols. While the tocopherols have been investigated extensively, little is known about the tocotrienols. Very limited studies suggest that both the molecular and therapeutic targets of the tocotrienols are distinct from those of the tocopherols. For instance, suppression of inflammatory transcription factor NF-kappaB, which is closely linked to tumorigenesis and inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase, mammalian DNA polymerases and certain protein tyrosine kinases, is unique to the tocotrienols. This review examines in detail the molecular targets of the tocotrienols and their roles in cancer, bone resorption, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurological diseases at both preclinical and clinical levels. As disappointment with the therapeutic value of the tocopherols grows, the potential of these novel vitamin E analogues awaits further investigation.
Aim: Diabetic nephropathy is a serious complication for patients with diabetes mellitus. Approximately 30-40% of patients with type I and 15% with type II diabetes mellitus develop end stage renal disease. The study was designed to evaluate the impact of tocotrienol on renal function and reno-inflammatory cascade in streptozotocin-induced diabetes.
Main Methods: Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats were treated with tocotrienol (25, 50 and 100 mg/kg), alpha-tocopherol (100 mg/kg) or with vehicle form 5th to 8th weeks. After 8 weeks, urine albumin excretion, urine output, serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine and urea clearance were measured. Cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions of kidney was prepared for the quantification of oxidative-nitrosative stress (lipid peroxidation, superoxide dismutase, catalase, non protein thiols, total nitric oxide), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), tissue growth factor-1beta (TGF-beta1), p65 subunit of NFkappabeta and caspase-3.
Key Findings: After 8 weeks of STZ injection, the rats produced significant alteration in renal function, increased oxidative-nitrosative stress, TNF-alpha, TGF-beta1, caspase-3 activity in cytoplasmic lysate and active p65 subunit of NFkappabeta in nuclear lysate of kidney of diabetic rats. Interestingly, co-administration of tocotrienol significantly and dose-dependently prevented biochemical and molecular changes associated with diabetes. Tocotrienol (100 mg/kg) was demonstrated to be more effective than alpha-tocopherol (100 mg/kg). Moreover, diabetic rats treated with insulin-tocotrienol combination produced more pronounced effect on molecular parameters as compared to their respective groups.
Significance: Taken together, the data reveal that tocotrienol modulates the release of profibrotic cytokines, oxidative stress, ongoing chronic inflammation and apoptosis and thus exerts a marked renoprotective effect.
Diabetic neuropathic pain, an important microvascular complication in diabetes mellitus, is recognised as one of the most difficult types of pain to treat. The development of tolerance, inadequate relief and potential toxicity of classical antinociceptives warrant the investigation of the newer agents to relieve this pain. Reactive oxygen/nitrogen species, cytokines and apoptosis are implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy. The aim of the present study was to explore the effect of tocotrienol on thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia, allodynia, oxidative-nitrosative stress, inflammation and apoptosis in streptozotocin-induced experimental diabetes. Diabetic rats developed neuropathy which was evident from a marked hyperalgesia and allodynia associated with enhanced nitrosative stress, release of inflammatory mediators (TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, TGF-1beta) and caspase-3. Chronic treatment with tocotrienol (25, 50 and 100 mg/kg body weight; p.o.) for 4 weeks starting from the 4th week of streptozotocin injection significantly attenuated behavioral, biochemical and molecular changes associated with diabetic neuropathy. Moreover, diabetic rats treated with insulin-tocotrienol combination produced more pronounced beneficial effect as compared to their per se groups. The major finding of the study is that insulin alone corrected the hyperglycemia and partially reversed the pain response in diabetic rats. However, combination with tocotrienol not only attenuated the diabetic condition but also reversed neuropathic pain through modulation of oxidative-nitrosative stress, inflammatory cytokine release and caspase-3 in the diabetic rats and thus it may find clinical application to treat neuropathic pain in the diabetic patients.
Chronic alcohol intake is known to induce the selective neuronal damage associated with increase oxidative-nitrosative stress and activation of inflammatory cascade finally resulting in neuronal apoptosis and thus dementia. In the present study, we investigated the comparative effect of both the isoforms of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol and tocotrienol against chronic alcohol-induced cognitive dysfunction in rats. Male Wistar rats were given ethanol (10g/kg; oral gavage) for 10 weeks, and treated with alpha-tocopherol and tocotrienol for the same duration. The learning and memory behavior was assessed using Morris water maze and elevated plus maze test. The rats were sacrificed at the end of 10th week and cytoplasmic fractions of cerebral cortex and hippocampus were prepared for the quantification of acetylcholinesterase activity, oxidative-nitrosative stress parameters, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta). From the 6th week onwards, ethanol-treated rats showed significant increase in transfer latency in both the behavioral paradigms which was coupled with enhanced acetylcholinesterase activity, increased oxidative-nitrosative stress, TNF-alpha and IL-1beta levels in different brain regions of ethanol-treated rats. Co-administration of alpha-tocopherol as well as tocotrienol significantly and dose-dependently prevented these behavioral, biochemical and molecular changes in the brains of ethanol-treated rats. However, the effects were more pronounced with tocotrienol. The current study thus demonstrates the possible involvement of oxidative-nitrosative stress mediated activation of inflammatory cascade in chronic alcohol-induced cognitive dysfunction and also suggests the effectiveness of vitamin E isoforms, of which tocotrienol being more potent, in preventing the cognitive deficits associated with chronic alcohol consumption.
Tocotrienols are powerful chain breaking antioxidant. Moreover, they are now known to exhibit various non-antioxidant properties such as anti-cancer, neuroprotective and hypocholesterolemic functions. This study was undertaken to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) and individual tocotrienol isoforms namely delta-, gamma-, and alpha-tocotrienol on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages. The widely studied vitamin E form, alpha-tocopherol, was used as comparison. Stimulation of RAW264.7 with lipopolysaccharide induced the release of various inflammatory markers. 10 mcirog/ml of TRF and all tocotrienol isoforms significantly inhibited the production of interleukin-6 and nitric oxide. However, only alpha-tocotrienol demonstrated a significant effect in lowering tumor necrosis factor-alpha production. Besides, TRF and all tocotrienol isoforms except gamma-tocotrienol reduced prostaglandin E(2) release. It was accompanied by the down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 gene expression by all vitamin E forms except alpha-tocopherol. Collectively, the data suggested that tocotrienols are better anti-inflammatory agents than alpha-tocopherol and the most effective form is delta-tocotrienol.
Objective: The etiology of diabetes associated cognitive decline is multifactorial and involves insulin receptor down regulation, neuronal apoptosis and glutamatergic neurotransmission. The study was designed to evaluate the impact of tocotrienol on cognitive function and neuroinflammatory cascade in streptozotocin-induced diabetes.
Research design and method: Streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were treated with tocotrienol for 10 weeks. Morris water maze was used for behavioral assessment of memory. Cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions of cerebral cortex and hippocampus were prepared for the quantification of acetylcholinesterase activity, oxidative-nitrosative stress, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), NFkappabeta and caspase-3.
Results: After 10 weeks of streptozotocin injection, the rats produced significant increase in transfer latency which was coupled with enhanced acetylcholinesterase activity, increased oxidative-nitrosative stress, TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, caspase-3 activity and active p65 subunit of NFkappabeta in different regions of diabetic rat brain. Interestingly, co-administration of tocotrienol significantly and dose-dependently prevented behavioral, biochemical and molecular changes associated with diabetes. Moreover, diabetic rats treated with insulin-tocotrienol combination produced more pronounced effect on molecular parameters as compared to their per se groups.
Conclusions: Collectively, the data reveal that activation of NFkappabeta signaling pathway is associated with diabetes induced cognitive impairment and point towards the therapeutic potential of tocotrienol in diabetic encephalopathy.
Cyclooxygenase (COX-1/COX-2)-catalyzed eicosanoid formation plays a key role in inflammation-associated diseases. Natural forms of vitamin E are recently shown to be metabolized to long-chain carboxychromanols and their sulfated counterparts. Here we find that vitamin E forms differentially inhibit COX-2-catalyzed prostaglandin E(2) in IL-1beta-stimulated A549 cells without affecting COX-2 expression, showing the relative potency of gamma-tocotrienol approximately delta-tocopherol > gamma-tocopherol >> alpha- or beta-tocopherol. The cellular inhibition is partially diminished by sesamin, which blocks the metabolism of vitamin E, suggesting that their metabolites may be inhibitory. Consistently, conditioned media enriched with long-chain carboxychromanols, but not their sulfated counterparts or vitamin E, reduce COX-2 activity in COX-preinduced cells with 5 microM arachidonic acid as substrate. Under this condition, 9′- or 13′-carboxychromanol, the vitamin E metabolites that contain a chromanol linked with a 9- or 13-carbon-length carboxylated side chain, inhibits COX-2 with an IC(50) of 6 or 4 microM, respectively. But 13′-carboxychromanol inhibits purified COX-1 and COX-2 much more potently than shorter side-chain analogs or vitamin E forms by competitively inhibiting their cyclooxygenase activity with K(i) of 3.9 and 10.7 microM, respectively, without affecting the peroxidase activity. Computer simulation consistently indicates that 13′-carboxychromanol binds more strongly than 9′-carboxychromanol to the substrate-binding site of COX-1. Therefore, long-chain carboxychromanols, including 13′-carboxychromanol, are novel cyclooxygenase inhibitors, may serve as anti-inflammation and anticancer agents, and may contribute to the beneficial effects of certain forms of vitamin E.
Tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) of palm oil has been shown to possess potent antioxidant, anticancer, and cholesterol lowering activities. In this study, our aim was to examine the effects of TRF on LPS-induced inflammatory response through measuring the production of inflammatory mediators, namely nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-4, and IL-8), cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (COX-1 and COX-2), and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) in human monocytic (THP-1) cells. At concentrations 0.5-5.0 microg/mL, TRF dose-dependently protected against LPS-induced cell death. At same concentrations, TRF also showed potent anti-inflammatory activity as demonstrated by a dose-dependent inhibition of LPS (1 microg/mL)-induced release of NO and PGE(2), and a significant decrease in the transcription of proinflammatory cytokines. TRF at 1.0 microg/mL significantly blocked the LPS induction of iNOS and COX-2 expression, but not COX-1. This anti-inflammatory activity was further supported by the inhibition of NF-kappaB expression. These results conclude that TRF possesses potent anti-inflammatory activity, and its mechanism of action could be through the inhibition of iNOS and COX-2 production, as well as NF-kappaB expression.
Mast cells play an important role in the immune system by interacting with B and T cells and by releasing several mediators involved in activating other cells. Hyperreactivity of mast cells and their uncontrolled accumulation in tissues lead to increased release of inflammatory mediators contributing to the pathogenesis of several diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and allergic disorders such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. Interference with mast cell proliferation, survival, degranulation, and migration by synthetic or natural compounds may represent a preventive strategy for the management of these diseases. Natural vitamin E covers a group of eight analogues-the alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherols and the alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienols, but only alpha-tocopherol is efficiently retained by the liver and distributed to peripheral tissues. Mast cells preferentially locate in the proximity of tissues that interface with the external environment (the epithelial surface of the skin, the gastrointestinal mucosa, and the respiratory system), what may render them accessible to treatments with inefficiently retained natural vitamin E analogues and synthetic derivatives. In addition to scavenging free radicals, the natural vitamin E analogues differently modulate signal transduction and gene expression in several cell lines; in mast cells, protein kinase C, protein phosphatase 2A, and protein kinase B are affected by vitamin E, leading to the modulation of proliferation, apoptosis, secretion, and migration. In this chapter, the possibility that vitamin E can prevent diseases with mast cells involvement by modulating signal transduction and gene expression is evaluated.