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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005;14(4):358-65.

A comparison between tocopherol and tocotrienol effects on gastric parameters in rats exposed to stress.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Rats exposed to stress developed various changes in the gastrointestinal tract and hormones. The present study was designed to compare the impact of tocopherol and tocotrienol on changes that influence gastric and hormonal parameters important in maintaining gastric mucosal integrity in rats exposed to restrain stress. These include gastric acidity, gastric tissue content of parameters such as malondialdehyde, prostaglandin (PGE(2)), serum levels of gastrin and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Sixty male Sprague-Dawley rats (200-250 g) were randomly divided into three equal sized groups, a control group which received a normal rat diet (RC) and two treatment groups each receiving a vitamin deficient diet with oral supplementation of either tocopherol (TF) or tocotrienol (TT) at 60 mg/kg body weight. Blood samples were taken from half the number of rats (non-stressed group) after a treatment period of 28 days before they were killed. The remaining half was subjected to experimental restraint-stress, at 2 hours daily for 4 consecutive days (stressed groups), on the fourth day, blood samples were taken and the rats killed. The findings showed that the gastric acid concentration and serum gastrin level in stressed rats were significantly (P<0.05) reduced compared to the non-stressed rats in the control and TF groups. However, the gastric acidity and gastrin levels in the TT group were comparable in stressed and non-stressed rats. These findings suggest that tocotrienol is able to preserve the gastric acidity and serum gastrin level which are usually altered in stressed conditions. The PGE(2) content and the plasma GLP-1 level were, however, comparable in all stressed and non-stressed groups indicating that these parameters were not altered in stress and that supplementation with TF or TT had no effect on the gastric PGE2 content or the GLP-1 level. The malondialdehyde, an indicator of lipid peroxidation was higher from gastric tissues in the stressed groups compared to the non-stressed groups. These findings implicated that free radicals may play a role in the development of gastric injury in stress and supplementation with either TF or TT was able to reduce the lipid peroxidation levels compared to the control rats. We conclude that both tocopherol and tocotrienol are comparable in their gastro-protective ability against damage by free radicals generated in stress conditions, but only tocotrienol has the ability to block the stress-induced changes in the gastric acidity and gastrin level.

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