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Endocrine. 2007 Aug;32(1):59-68. Epub 2007 Oct 16.

Vitamin E prevents ethanol-induced inflammatory, hormonal, and cytotoxic changes in reproductive tissues.

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Burn and Shock Trauma Institute, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.


Ethanol causes decreased function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. Ethanol resulted in inflammatory changes in HPG manifested by increased concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Since, such cytokines have deleterious effects on functions of HPG, it seemed possible that ethanol's suppressive action could be due, at least in part, to this inflammation. Since oxidative stress can cause inflammation, we have used the antioxidant vitamin E to test, whether reducing inflammation might protect reproductive functions from ethanol. Rats were fed an ethanol diet or pair fed identically without ethanol for a 3-week period. For the last 10 days, animals were given 30 IU/kg or 90 IU/kg or vehicle. Ethanol significantly increased hypothalamic, pituitary and testicular TNF-alpha and IL-6, all changes prevented by the higher dose of vitamin E. Also, ethanol induced changes in LHRH, LH, testosterone, and testicular germ cell apoptosis were similarly prevented by vitamin E. These data strikingly show that vitamin E protects the HPG from deleterious effects of ethanol and suggests that the mechanism of this protection might be both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

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