Author(s): Upston JM, Kritharides L, Stocker R
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Abstract Epidemiological and biochemical studies infer that oxidative processes, including the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), are involved in atherosclerosis. Vitamin E has been the focus of several large supplemental studies of cardiovascular disease, yet its potential to attenuate or even prevent atherosclerosis has not been realised. The scientific rationale for vitamin E supplements protecting against atherosclerosis is based primarily on the oxidation theory of atherosclerosis, the assumption that vitamin E becomes depleted as disease progresses, and the expectation that vitamin E prevents the oxidation of LDL in vivo and atherogenic events linked to such oxidation. However, it is increasingly clear that the balance between vitamin E and other antioxidants may be crucial for in vivo antioxidant protection, that vitamin E is only minimally oxidised and not deficient in atherosclerotic lesions, and that vitamin E is not effective against two-electron oxidants that are increasingly implicated in both early and later stages of the disease. It also remains unclear as to whether oxidation plays a bystander or a casual role in atherosclerosis. This lack of knowledge may explain the ambivalence of vitamin E and other antioxidant supplementation in atherosclerosis.
This article was published in Prog Lipid Res
and referenced in Biology and Medicine