Author(s): BrigeliusFloh R, BrigeliusFloh R
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Abstract Vitamin E is the last of all vitamins whose essentiality is not yet understood. Its widely accepted role as a lipophilic antioxidant has been questioned, since proof of its in vivo relevance remained scarce. The influence of vitamin E on biomarkers of oxidative stress in vivo is inconsistent and metabolites of vitamin E having reacted as an antioxidant are hardly detectable. Novel functions of vitamin E include the regulation of enzymes, most of which are membrane bound or activated by membrane recruitment. Also, expression of genes responds to vitamin E. The search for a transcription factor common to all regulated genes failed so far and a receptor that specifically binds vitamin E has not yet been identified. According to microarray data, pathways preferentially affected by the vitamin E status are the inflammatory response and cellular traffic. A role of vitamin E in cellular trafficking could best explain the neurological symptoms seen in vitamin E deficiency. Emerging knowledge on vitamin E is compiled here with the perspective to unravel the molecular mechanisms that could more likely explain the essentiality of the vitamin than its ability to scavenge free radicals.
This article was published in Free Radic Biol Med
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion