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Can J Surg. 2011 Oct;54(5):333-8. doi: 10.1503/cjs.013610.

Vitamin E has a dual effect of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities in acetic acid-induced ulcerative colitis in rats.

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Department of General Surgery, Istanbul University Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey.



Increased free radical production, decreased antioxidant capacity and excessive inflammation are well-known features in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and a scavenger of hydroxyl radicals, and it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory activities in tissues. We investigated the effects of vitamin E on inflammatory activities using an acetic acid (AA)-induced ulcerative colitis model in rats.


Wistar rats were divided into 4 groups. Acetic acid was given to 2 groups of animals to induce colitis while the other 2 groups received saline intrarectally. One AA-induced colitis group and 1 control group received vitamin E (30 U/kg/d) intraperitoneally and the pair groups received saline. After 4 days, we evaluated colonic changes biochemically by measuring proinflammatory cytokine levels in tissue homogenates and by histopathologic examination.


Acetic acid caused colonic mucosal injury, whereas vitamin E administration suppressed these changes in the AA-induced colitis group (p < 0.001). Administration of AA resulted in increased levels of tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, myeloperoxidase and malondialdehyde, and decreased levels of glutathione and superoxide dismutase; vitamin E reversed these effects (all p < 0.001).


Our study proposes that vitamin E is an effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may be a promising therapeutic option for ulcerative colitis.

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