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IUBMB Life. 2001 Jul;52(1-2):71-6.

Vitamin E 80th anniversary: a double life, not only fighting radicals.

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1
Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Abstract

Recent research on alpha-tocopherol has revealed specific cellular functions of this compound belonging to the vitamin E family. Alpha-tocopherol can act as a radical scavenger, as a pro-oxidant, as an anti-alkylation agent and, most important, by mechanisms that are independent of the above properties. To the last group belong protein kinase C and 5-lipoxygenase inhibition at post-translational level, as well as alpha-tocopherol activation of protein phosphatase 2A and diacylglycerol kinase. Furthermore, at transcriptional level, several genes (CD36, alpha-TTP, alpha-tropomyosin, and collagenase) are modulated by alpha-tocopherol. These effects result in inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation, platelet aggregation, and monocyte adhesion and may be related to the alleged protection of atherosclerosis by vitamin E. On the other side, epidemiological and intervention studies have shown some inconsistent results. Rather than disregarding vitamin E as a means to protect against atherosclerosis progression, it would be wiser to better design clinical trials based on current knowledge of the biological properties of the molecule.

PMID:
11795598
DOI:
10.1080/15216540252774801
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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