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Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Dec;92(6):1378-84. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.30017. Epub 2010 Sep 29.

α-Tocopherol adipose tissue stores are depleted after burn injury in pediatric patients.

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Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-6512, USA.



We previously showed that thermal injury depletes plasma vitamin E in pediatric burn patients; however, plasma changes may reflect immediate alterations in vitamin E nutriture. Adipose tissue α-tocopherol concentrations are generally accepted to reflect long-term vitamin E status.


To test the hypothesis that thermal injury depletes body stores of vitamin E, α-tocopherol concentrations were measured in adipose tissue samples.


Pediatric patients (n = 8) were followed up to 1 y after burn injury. Surgically obtained samples were collected at various intervals and stored at -80°C in a biorepository. α- and γ-Tocopherols, cholesterol, and triglycerides were measured in the same tissue aliquot.


During the first week after injury, adipose tissue α-tocopherol concentrations were within the expected normal range of 199 ± 40 nmol/g adipose tissue but were substantially lower at weeks 2 and 3 (133 ± 13 and 109 ± 8 nmol/g adipose tissue, respectively). Individual rates of decrease, estimated by linear regression, showed that adipose tissue α-tocopherol decreased by an average of 6.1 ± 0.6 nmol/g daily. During the first month after injury, adipose tissue triglyceride concentrations also decreased, whereas no changes in cholesterol concentrations occurred.


These data emphasize that the burn injury experienced by these pediatric patients altered their metabolism such that vitamin E status diminished during the month after injury. Further studies are needed to evaluate the mechanism and consequences of the observed vitamin E depletion. This trial was registered at as NCT00675714.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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