Proteomic Changes in Mouse Spleen after Radiation-Induced Injury and its Modulation by Gamma-Tocotrienol

Cheema AK, Byrum SD, Sharma NK, Altadill T, Kumar VP, Biswas S, Balgley BM, Hauer-Jensen M, Tackett AJ, Ghosh SP

Radiat Res. 2018 Aug 2. doi: 10.1667/RR15008.1. [Epub ahead of print]


Gamma-tocotrienol (GT3), a naturally occurring vitamin E isomer, a promising radioprotector, has been shown to protect mice against radiation-induced hematopoietic and gastrointestinal injuries. We analyzed changes in protein expression profiles of spleen tissue after GT3 treatment in mice exposed to gamma radiation to gain insights into the molecular mechanism of radioprotective efficacy. Male CD2F1 mice, 12-to-14 weeks old, were treated with either vehicle or GT3 at 24 h prior to 7 Gy total-body irradiation. Nonirradiated vehicle, nonirradiated GT3 and age-matched naïve animals were used as controls. Blood and tissues were harvested on days 0, 1, 2, 4, 7, 10 and 14 postirradiation. High-resolution mass-spectrometry-based radioproteomics was used to identify differentially expressed proteins in spleen tissue with or without drug treatment. Subsequent bioinformatic analyses helped delineate molecular markers of biological pathways and networks regulating the cellular radiation responses in spleen. Our results show a robust alteration in spleen proteomic profiles including upregulation of the Wnt signaling pathway and actin-cytoskeleton linked proteins in mediating the radiation injury response in spleen. Furthermore, we show that 24 h pretreatment with GT3 attenuates radiation-induced hematopoietic injury in the spleen by modulating various cell signaling proteins. Taken together, our results show that the radioprotective effects of GT3 are mediated, via alleviation of radiation-induced alterations in biochemical pathways, with wide implications on overall hematopoietic injury.

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Cebpd Is Essential for Gamma-Tocotrienol Mediated Protection against Radiation-Induced Hematopoietic and Intestinal Injury

Banerjee S, Shah SK, Melnyk SB, Pathak R, Hauer-Jensen M, Pawar SA.

Antioxidants (Basel). 2018 Apr 6;7(4). pii: E55. doi: 10.3390/antiox7040055.


Gamma-tocotrienol (GT3) confers protection against ionizing radiation (IR)-induced injury. However, the molecular targets that underlie the protective functions of GT3 are not yet known. We have reported that mice lacking CCAAT enhancer binding protein delta (Cebpd-/-) display increased mortality to IR due to injury to the hematopoietic and intestinal tissues and that Cebpd protects from IR-induced oxidative stress and cell death. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether Cebpd mediates the radio protective functions of GT3. We found that GT3-treated Cebpd-/- mice showed partial recovery of white blood cells compared to GT3-treated Cebpd⁺/+ mice at 2 weeks post-IR. GT3-treated Cebpd-/- mice showed an increased loss of intestinal crypt colonies, which correlated with increased expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, increased levels of oxidized glutathione (GSSG), S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) and 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) after exposure to IR compared to GT3-treated Cebpd+/+ mice. Cebpd is induced by IR as well as a combination of IR and GT3 in the intestine. Studies have shown that granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), mediates the radioprotective functions of GT3. Interestingly, we found that IR alone as well as the combination of IR and GT3 caused robust augmentation of plasma G-CSF in both Cebpd⁺/+ and Cebpd-/- mice. These results identify a novel role for Cebpd in GT3-mediated protection against IR-induced injury, in part via modulation of IR-induced inflammation and oxidative/nitrosative stress, which is independent of G-CSF.


Cebpd; GSH; GSNO; gamma tocotrienol; granulocyte-colony stimulating factor; hematopoietic injury; intestinal injury; ionizing radiation

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Ionization of tocopherols and tocotrienols in APCI

Bartosińska E, Borsuk-De Moor A, Siluk D, Markuszewski MJ, Wiczling P.

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2018 Mar 26. doi: 10.1002/rcm.8124



Tocopherols and tocotrienols are chemical compounds insusceptible to the ionization process under atmospheric pressure conditions. Therefore, the selection of the optimal ion source settings for their quantification requires special attention. The aim of this study was to analyse the influence of the APCI source parameters on the response of tocochromanols and two related compounds.


Standard solutions of target compounds were injected on the HPLC-APCI-MS/MS system separately and analysed in 30 randomly selected ion source settings. The obtained responses were modelled by multivariate linear regression with least absolute shrinkage and selection operator. The developed models were used for choosing best APCI conditions.


Multivariate linear models were built for eight tocochromanols, trolox and BHT. The APCI settings derived from the models did not increase the peak areas obtained for T and T3 during ionization process. Ionization conditions based on models for trolox and BHT improved analytical responses for 12-36% and 4-32%, respectively. The application of the ion source settings optimal for trolox and BHT to tocochromanols did not result in better analytical responses.


The ionization pattern of tocochromanols in APCI source is problematic and should be further investigated. Modelling methodology for response improvement presented in this study can be applied in similar studies.

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Antioxidant Tocols as Radiation Countermeasures (Challenges to be Addressed to Use Tocols as Radiation Countermeasures in Humans).

Nukala U, Thakkar S, Krager KJ, Breen PJ, Compadre CM, Aykin-Burns N

Antioxidants (Basel). 2018 Feb 23;7(2). pii: E33. doi: 10.3390/antiox7020033.


Radiation countermeasures fall under three categories, radiation protectors, radiation mitigators, and radiation therapeutics. Radiation protectors are agents that are administered before radiation exposure to protect from radiation-induced injuries by numerous mechanisms, including scavenging free radicals that are generated by initial radiochemical events. Radiation mitigators are agents that are administered after the exposure of radiation but before the onset of symptoms by accelerating the recovery and repair from radiation-induced injuries. Whereas radiation therapeutic agents administered after the onset of symptoms act by regenerating the tissues that are injured by radiation. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals generated by radiation exposure by donating H atoms. The vitamin E family consists of eight different vitamers, including four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Though alpha-tocopherol was extensively studied in the past, tocotrienols have recently gained attention as radiation countermeasures. Despite several studies performed on tocotrienols, there is no clear evidence on the factors that are responsible for their superior radiation protection properties over tocopherols. Their absorption and bioavailability are also not well understood. In this review, we discuss tocopherol’s and tocotrienol‘s efficacy as radiation countermeasures and identify the challenges to be addressed to develop them into radiation countermeasures for human use in the event of radiological emergencies.

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Nanoencapsulation of coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E acetate protects against UVB radiation-induced skin injury in mice.

Pegoraro NS, Barbieri AV, Camponogara C, Mattiazzi J, Brum ES, Marchiori MC, Oliveira SM, Cruz L.

Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2017 Feb 1;150:32-40. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2016.11.013. Epub 2016 Nov 9.


This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of producing semisolid formulations based on nanocapsule suspensions containing the association of the coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E acetate by adding gellan gum (2%) to the suspensions. Furthermore, we studied their application as an alternative for the treatment of inflammation induced by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. For this, an animal model of injury induced by UVB-radiation was employed. All semisolids presented pH close to 5.5, drug content above 95% and mean diameter on the nanometric range, after redispersion in water. Besides, the semisolids presented non-Newtonian flow with pseudoplastic behavior and suitable spreadability factor values. The results also showed that the semisolid containing coenzyme Q10-loaded nanocapsules with higher vitamin E acetate concentration reduced in 73±8% the UVB radiation-induced ear edema. Moreover, all formulations tested were able to reduce inflammation parameters evaluated through MPO activity and histological procedure on injured tissue and the semisolids containing the nanoencapsulated coenzyme Q10 reduced oxidative parameters assessment through the non-protein thiols levels and lipid peroxidation. This way, the semisolids based on nanocapsules may be considered a promising approach for the treatment and prevention of skin inflammation diseases.

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Development of Orally Administered γ-Tocotrienol (GT3) Nanoemulsion for Radioprotection.

Ledet GA, Biswas S, Kumar VP, Graves RA, Mitchner DM, Parker TM, Bostanian LA, Ghosh SP, Mandal TK.

Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Dec 24;18(1). pii: E28. doi: 10.3390/ijms18010028.


The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to formulate γ-tocotrienol (GT3) in a nanoemulsion formulation as a prophylactic orally administered radioprotective agent; and (2) to optimize the storage conditions to preserve the structural integrity of both the formulation and the compound. γ-tocotrienol was incorporated into a nanoemulsion and lyophilized with lactose. Ultra performance liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy (UPLC-MS) was used to monitor the chemical stability of GT3 over time, the particle size and ζ potential, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to study the physical stability of the nanoemulsion. Radioprotective and toxicity studies were performed in mice. The liquid formulation exhibited GT3 degradation at all storage temperatures. Lyophilization, in the presence of lactose, significantly reduced GT3 degradation. Both the liquid and lyophilized nanoemulsions had stable particle size and ζ potential when stored at 4 °C. Toxicity studies of the nanoemulsion resulted in no observable toxicity in mice at an oral dose of 600 mg/kg GT3. The nano-formulated GT3 (300 mg/kg) demonstrated enhanced survival efficacy compared to GT3 alone (200 and 400 mg/kg) in CD2F1 mice exposed to total body gamma radiation. The optimal long-term storage of formulated GT3 is as a powder at -20 °C to preserve drug and formulation integrity. Formulation of GT3 as a nanoemulsion for oral delivery as a prophylactic radioprotectant shows promise and warrants further investigation.

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The Vitamin E Analog Gamma-Tocotrienol (GT3) Suppresses Radiation-Induced Cytogenetic Damage.

Pathak R, Bachri A, Ghosh SP, Koturbash I, Boerma M, Binz RK, Sawyer JR, Hauer-Jensen M.

Pharm Res. 2016 Sep;33(9):2117-25. doi: 10.1007/s11095-016-1950-0.


Ionizing radiation (IR) generates reactive oxygen species (ROS), which cause DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that are responsible for cytogenetic alterations. Because antioxidants are potent ROS scavengers, we determined whether the vitamin E isoform γ-tocotrienol (GT3), a radio-protective multifunctional dietary antioxidant, can suppress IR-induced cytogenetic damage. We measured DSB formation in irradiated primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by quantifying the formation of γ-H2AX foci. Chromosomal aberrations (CAs) were analyzed in irradiated HUVECs and in the bone marrow cells of irradiated mice by conventional and fluorescence-based chromosome painting techniques. Gene expression was measured in HUVECs with quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). GT3 attenuates radiation-induced cytogenetic damage, possibly by affecting RAD50 expression. GT3 should be explored as a therapeutic to reduce the risk of developing genetic diseases after radiation exposure.

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The potentiation of the radioprotective efficacy of two medical countermeasures, gamma-tocotrienol and amifostine, by a combination prophylactic modality.

Singh VK, Fatanmi OO, Wise SY, Newman VL, Romaine PL, Seed TM.

Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2016 Aug 19. [Epub ahead of print]


This study was designed to evaluate the possible potentiation of survival protection afforded by relatively low-dose amifostine prophylaxis against total body irradiation in combination with a protective, less toxic agent, gamma-tocotrienol (GT3). Mice were administered amifostine and/or GT3, then exposed to 9.2 Gy 60Co γ-irradiation and monitored for survival for 30 days. To investigate cytokine stimulation, mice were administered amifostine or GT3; serum samples were collected and analyzed for cytokines. Survival studies show single treatments of GT3 or amifostine significantly improved survival, compared to the vehicle, and combination treatments resulted in significantly higher survival compared to single treatments. In vivo studies with GT3 confirmed prior work indicating GT3 induces granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). This approach, the prophylactic combination of amifostine and GT3, which act through different mechanisms, shows promise and should be investigated further as a potential countermeasure for acute radiation syndrome.

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Progenitor Cell Mobilization by Gamma-tocotrienol: A Promising Radiation Countermeasure.

Singh VK, Fatanmi OO, Verma A, Newman VL, Wise SY, Romaine PL, Berg AN.

Health Phys. 2016 Aug;111(2):85-92. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000458.


This article reviews studies of progenitor mobilization with gamma-tocotrienol (GT3), a tocol under advanced development as a radiation countermeasure for acute radiation syndrome (ARS). GT3 protects mice against high doses of ionizing radiation and induces high levels of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). GT3-induced G-CSF in conjunction with AMD3100 (a chemokine receptor antagonist clinically used to improve the yield of mobilized progenitors) mobilizes progenitors; these mobilized progenitors mitigate injury when infused to mice exposed to acute, high-dose ionizing radiation. The administration of a G-CSF antibody to GT3-injected donor mice abrogated the radiomitigative efficacy of blood or peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in irradiated recipient mice. The efficacy of GT3-injected donor mice blood or PBMC was comparable to a recently published article involving blood or mononuclear cells obtained from mice injected with G-CSF. The injected progenitors were found to localize in various tissues of irradiated hosts. The authors demonstrate the efficacy of a bridging therapy in a preclinical animal model that allows the lymphohematopoietic system of severely immunocompromised mice to recover. This suggests that GT3 is a highly effective agent for radioprotection and mobilizing progenitors with significant therapeutic potential. Therefore, GT3 may be considered for further translational development and ultimately for use in humans.

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Vitamin E therapy beyond cancer: Tocopherol versus tocotrienol.

Peh HY, Tan WS, Liao W, Wong WS.

Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Jun;162:152-69. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2015.12.003. Review.


The discovery of vitamin E (α-tocopherol) began in 1922 as a vital component required in reproduction. Today, there are eight naturally occurring vitamin E isoforms, namely α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocopherol and α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocotrienol. Vitamin E is potent antioxidants, capable of neutralizing free radicals directly by donating hydrogen from its chromanol ring. α-Tocopherol is regarded the dominant form in vitamin E as the α-tocopherol transfer protein in the liver binds mainly α-tocopherol, thus preventing its degradation. That contributed to the oversight of tocotrienols and resulted in less than 3% of all vitamin E publications studying tocotrienols. Nevertheless, tocotrienols have been shown to possess superior antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties over α-tocopherol. In particular, inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase to lower cholesterol, attenuating inflammation via downregulation of transcription factor NF-κB activation, and potent radioprotectant against radiation damage are some properties unique to tocotrienols, not tocopherols. Aside from cancer, vitamin E has also been shown protective in bone, cardiovascular, eye, nephrological and neurological diseases. In light of the different pharmacological properties of tocopherols and tocotrienols, it becomes critical to specify which vitamin E isoform(s) are being studied in any future vitamin E publications. This review provides an update on vitamin E therapeutic potentials, protective effects and modes of action beyond cancer, with comparison of tocopherols against tocotrienols. With the concerted efforts in synthesizing novel vitamin E analogs and clinical pharmacology of vitamin E, it is likely that certain vitamin E isoform(s) will be therapeutic agents against human diseases besides cancer.

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