Analogs of vitamin E (tocols) are under development as radioprophylactic agents because of their high efficacy and lack of toxicity. Gamma-tocotrienol (GT3) is of particular interest because, in addition to being an antioxidant, it also inhibits 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase and accumulates to greater extent in endothelial cells than other tocols. We addressed in vivo whether HMG-CoA reductase inhibition contributes to the radioprotection conferred by GT3. Groups of mice were treated with vehicle, mevalonate (the product of the reaction catalyzed by HMG-CoA reductase), GT3 alone or GT3 in combination with mevalonate. Lethality and standard parameters of injury to the hematopoietic, intestinal and vascular/endothelial systems were assessed after exposure to total-body irradiation. GT3 improved postirradiation survival and decreased radiation-induced vascular oxidative stress, an effect that was reversible by mevalonate. GT3 also enhanced hematopoietic recovery, reduced intestinal radiation injury, and accelerated the recovery of soluble markers of endothelial function. These parameters were not reversed by mevalonate co-administration. Our data confirm GT3’s radioprophylactic properties against hematopoietic injury and, for the first time, demonstrate benefits in terms of protection against gastrointestinal and vascular injury. The radioprotective efficacy of GT3 against vascular injury is related to its properties as an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor.
We have previously reported that substantial amounts of tocotrienols were present in the skin of animals fed a diet containing a tocopherols andtocotrienols rich fraction (T-mix) extracted from palm oil, and further, that sesame lignans enhanced tocotrienol levels in the skin. The present studies were undertaken to determine whether dietary tocotrienols and those with sesamin could protect the skin from damage induced by UVB irradiation in hairless mice fed four diets: a vitamin E-free diet, a 50 mg/kg alpha-tocopherol diet, a 229 mg/kg T-mix (with 50 mg alpha-tocopherol) diet and a 229 mg/kg T-mix with 2 g/kg sesamin diet. In Experiment 1, mice were fed the diets for 6 wk, and half of the mice were exposed to 180 mJ/cm(2 )of UVB light once daily for 7 d. After the intensity of sunburn was scored, vitamin E and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) concentrations in the skin and liver were determined. In Experiment 2, hairless mice were initiated with a single application of 7, 12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA), then 1 wk later mice were fed the experimental diets and subjected to 180 mJ/cm(2) UVB irradiation twice weekly for 20 wk. Tumor incidences were counted once a week. Tocotrienols were detected in the skin of mice fed T-mix, but their concentrations were significantly lower than for alpha-tocopherol. Sesamin elevated tocotrienol contents in the skin. In spite of the high alpha-tocopherol contents, the effects of alpha-tocopherol on sunburn and incidence of tumor were slight. T-mix fed groups reduced the extent of sunburn and incidence of tumor, and further reduction of sunburn and incidence of tumor were observed in the T-mix with sesamin group. These results suggest that dietarytocotrienols protect the skin more strongly than alpha-tocopherol against damage induced by UVB and sesamin enhances tocotrienol effects.
To assess the efficacy of various forms of vitamin E in protection of skin from UV-light-induced oxidative stress, vitamin E (tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil, TRF) was applied to mouse skin and the contents of antioxidants before and after exposure to UV-light were measured. Four polypropylene plastic rings (1 cm2) were glued onto the animals’ backs, and 20 microliters 5% TRF in polyethylene glycol-400 (PEG) was applied to the skin circumscribed by two rings and 20 microliters PEG to the other two rings. After 2 h, the skin was washed and half of the sites were exposed to UV-irradiation (2.8 mW/cm2 for 29 mi: 3 MED). TRF treatment (n = 19 mice) increased mouse skin alpha-tocopherol 28 +/- 16-fold, alpha-tocotrienol 80 +/- 50-fold, gamma-tocopherol 130 +/- 108-fold, and gamma-tocotrienol 51 +/- 36-fold. A significantly higher percentage of alpha-tocopherol was present in the skin as compared with that in the applied TRF. After UV-irradiation, all vitamin E forms decreased significantly (p < .01), while a larger proportion of the vitamin E remained in PEG-treated (approximately 80%) compared with TRF-treated (approximately 40%) skin. Nonetheless, vitamin E concentrations in irradiated TRF-treated skin were significantly higher than in the nonirradiated PEG-treated (control) skin (p < .01). Thus, UV-irradiation of skin destroys its antioxidants: however, prior application of TRF to mouse skin results in preservation of vitamin E.
The mechanism of oxidation of ascorbic acid in mouse skin homogenates by UV light was investigated by measuring ascorbate free radical formation using electron spin resonance signal formation. Addition of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol or alpha-tocotrienol) had no effect, whereas short-chain homologues (2,5,7,8-tetramethyl-6-hydroxychroman-2-carboxylic acid [Trolox] and 2,2,5,7,8-pentamethyl-6-hydroxychromane [PMC]) accelerated ascorbate oxidation. The similar hydrophilicity of ascorbate, Trolox and PMC increased their interaction, thus rapidly depleting ascorbate. When dihydrolipoic acid was added simultaneously with the vitamin E homologues, the accelerated ascorbate oxidation was prevented. This was due to the regeneration of ascorbate and PMC from their free radicals by a recycling mechanism between ascorbate, vitamin E homologues and dihydrolipoic acid. Potentiation of antioxidant recycling may be protective against UV irradiation-induced damage. The rate of ascorbate oxidation in the presence of vitamin E homologues was enhanced by a photosensitizer (riboflavin) but was not influenced by reactive oxygen radical quenchers, superoxide dismutase or 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide. These experimental results suggest that the UV irradiation-induced ascorbate oxidation in murine skin homogenates is caused by photoactivated reactions rather than reactive oxygen radical reactions.
To evaluate ozone damage to hairless mouse skin, two parameters of oxidative damage, vitamin E depletion and malondialdehyde (MDA) production, were measured in vitamin E-enriched and in control skin from mice exposed to ozone (10 ppm). A 5% vitamin E solution (tocotrienol-rich fraction, TRF) in polyethylene glycol (PEG) was applied to 2 sites on the back of hairless mice, PEG to 2 sites. After 2 h, the sites were washed, one of each pair of sites covered and the mice exposed ozone for 2 h. Ozone exposure (compared with covered sites) increased epidermal MDA in PEG-treated sites, while vitamin E was unchanged. In contrast, ozone exposure significantly depleted vitamin E in TRF-treated sites, while significant MDA accumulation was prevented. This is the first demonstration that ozone exposure causes damage to cutaneous lipids, an effect which can be attenuated by vitamin E application.