Send to

Choose Destination
Biochemistry. 1993 Oct 12;32(40):10692-9.

Structural and dynamic membrane properties of alpha-tocopherol and alpha-tocotrienol: implication to the molecular mechanism of their antioxidant potency.

Author information

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


d-alpha-Tocopherol and d-alpha-tocotrienol are two vitamin E constituents having the same aromatic chromanol "head" but different hydrocarbon "tails". alpha-Tocotrienol has been shown to be more potent in protecting against free radical-induced oxidative stress than alpha-tocopherol. Simple models of phospholipid membrane systems were used to investigate the mechanism of the antioxidant potency of alpha-tocotrienol in terms of its effects on membrane order and reorientation dynamics. Chemiluminescence and fluorescence measurements demonstrated that alpha-tocotrienol exhibits significantly greater peroxyl radical scavenging potency than alpha-tocopherol in phosphatidylcholine liposomes, whereas both antioxidants have identical activity in hexane. This suggests that the antioxidant potency of alpha-tocotrienol requires the membrane environment. When alpha-tocopherol and alpha-tocotrienol were examined for their effects on phospholipid molecular order using conventional ESR spin labeling with 5- and 16-position-labeled doxylstearic acid, although both vitamin E constituents disordered the gel phase and stabilized the liquid-crystalline phase, no differences were observed between the effects of the two compounds. A slightly greater increase (19% vs 15%) in ordering of the liquid-crystalline state due to alpha-tocopherol, however, was discerned in noninvasive 2H NMR experiments. The difference is most noticeable near C10-C13 positions of the phospholipid chain, possibly suggesting alpha-tocotrienol is located closer to the membrane surface. Saturation-transfer ESR, furthermore, revealed that on the time scale tau c = 10(-7)-10(-3) s the rates of rotation about the long molecular axis and of the wobbling motion of the axis are modified to differing extents by the two forms of the vitamin E.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center