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Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;95(6):1461-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.012781. Epub 2012 May 9.

Variants in the genes encoding TNF-α, IL-10, and GSTP1 influence the effect of α-tocopherol on inflammatory cell responses in healthy men.

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Human Development and Health Academic Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, IDS Building, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK.



Despite evidence of antioxidant effects of vitamin E in vitro and in animal studies, large, randomized clinical trials have not substantiated a benefit of vitamin E in reducing inflammation in humans. An individual's genetic background may affect the response to α-tocopherol supplementation, but this has rarely been investigated.


The aim of this study was to explore the role of genetic polymorphisms on changes in LPS-stimulated inflammatory cytokine production from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) after α-tocopherol supplementation.


A total of 160 healthy, middle-aged male volunteers (mean age: 52.7 y) were given dietary supplements of either 75 IU (low dose; n = 57) or 600 IU (high dose; n = 103) α-tocopherol/d for 6 wk. The production of TNF-α and IL-1β, -6, and -10 by PBMCs after LPS stimulation was measured at baseline and after 6 wk. Polymorphisms in 15 genes involved in inflammation or responses to oxidative stress were characterized in the subjects.


The ability of α-tocopherol to affect TNF-α production by LPS-stimulated PBMCs was influenced by the TNFA -238 polymorphism (P = 0.016). The ability of α-tocopherol to affect IL-6 production was influenced by the GSTP1 313 polymorphism (P = 0.019). The ability of α-tocopherol to affect IL-1β production was influenced by the IL10 -592 and -1082 polymorphisms (P = 0.025 and P = 0.016, respectively).


In healthy control subjects, the effect of α-tocopherol supplementation on the production of inflammatory cytokines appears to be dependent on an individual's genotype. These genotype-specific differences may help explain some of the discordant results in studies that used vitamin E.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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