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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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The 80th Anniversary of Vitamin E: Beyond Its Antioxidant Properties

R. Ricciarelli / J.-M. Zingg / A. Azzi

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 383, Issue 3-4, Pages 457–465, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2002.048, June 2005

Publication History

Published Online:
2005-06-01

Abstract

Molecules provided with an antioxidant function may have additional properties, the latter being sometimes of greater importance than the former. In the last ten years, αtocopherol has revealed precise cellular functions, some of which are independent of its antioxidant/radical scavenging ability. At the posttranslational level, αtocopherol inhibits protein kinase C and 5-lipoxygenase and activates protein phosphatase 2A and diacylglycerol kinase. Some genes (CD36, αTTP, αtropomyosin, and collagenase) are affected by αtocopherol at the transcriptional level. αTocopherol also induces inhibition of cell proliferation, platelet aggregation and monocyte adhesion. These effects are unrelated to the antioxidant activity of vitamin E, but rather are believed to be a result of specific interactions of vitamin E with components of the cell, e. g. proteins, enzymes and membranes. This review focuses on novel nonantioxidant functions of αtocopherol and discusses the possibility that many of the effects previously attributed to the antioxidant functions can also be explained by nonantioxidant mechanisms.

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