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Free Radic Biol Med. 2005 Oct 1;39(7):970-6.

Alpha-tocopheryl phosphate: a novel, natural form of vitamin E.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton 3800, Australia.


We have detected alpha-tocopheryl phosphate in biological tissues including liver and adipose tissue, as well as in a variety of foods, suggesting a ubiquitous presence in animal and plant tissue. Alpha-tocopheryl phosphate is a water-soluble molecule that is resistant to both acid and alkaline hydrolysis, making it undetectable using standard assays for vitamin E. A new method was therefore developed to allow the extraction of both alpha-tocopheryl phosphate and alpha-tocopherol from a single specimen. We used ESMS to detect endogenous alpha-tocopheryl phosphate in biological samples that also contained alpha-tocopherol. Due to the significance of these findings, further proof was required to unequivocally demonstrate the presence of endogenous alpha-tocopheryl phosphate in biological samples. Four independent methods of analysis were examined: HPLC, LCMS, LCMS/MS, and GCMS. Alpha-tocopherol phosphate was identified in all instances by comparison between standard alpha-tocopheryl phosphate and extracts of biological tissues. The results show that alpha-tocopheryl phosphate is a natural form of vitamin E. The discovery of endogenous alpha-tocopheryl phosphate has implications for the expanding knowledge of the roles of alpha-tocopherol in biological systems.

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