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J Nutr Biochem. 2009 Nov;20(11):894-900. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2008.08.004. Epub 2008 Nov 6.

A combination of aspirin and gamma-tocopherol is superior to that of aspirin and alpha-tocopherol in anti-inflammatory action and attenuation of aspirin-induced adverse effects.

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  • 1Department of Foods and Nutrition, Interdepartmental Nutrition Program, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin are used for pain relief and chemoprevention against cancer, but frequently cause gastric mucosal injury. We examined whether combinations of aspirin and alpha-tocopherol (alphaT) or aspirin and gamma-tocopherol (gammaT), with alphaT and gammaT being the two major forms of vitamin E, are better anti-inflammatory agents than aspirin alone, and whether these combinations alleviate aspirin-associated side effects. In the carrageenan-induced air-pouch inflammation model in the rat, aspirin (150 mg/kg) or a combination of aspirin and gammaT (33 mg/kg) inhibited proinflammatory prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) by 70% (P<.02) at the inflammation site 6 h after inflammation was initiated. However, at 18 h, only the combination decreased exudate volume (15%; P<.05) and showed modest inhibition of PGE(2) (40%; P<.07) and lactate dehydrogenase activity (30%; P=.07) in the fluid collected at the inflammation site. gammaT, but not alphaT, spared aspirin-induced reduction in food intake, partially reversed aspirin-depressed gastric PGE(2) and attenuated stomach lesions. Surprisingly, the combination of aspirin and alphaT (33 mg/kg) did not show more benefits than aspirin alone, but worsened gastric injury and food intake reduction. Our study demonstrated that a combination of aspirin and gammaT, but not a combination of aspirin and alphaT, has some advantage over aspirin alone in terms of anti-inflammatory effects and attenuation of aspirin-induced adverse effects. This combination may be useful in complementing aspirin in the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions and cancer.

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