Specific cellular responses to α-tocopherol

Angelo Azzi, Isabel Breyer, Maria Feher, Mariella Pastori, Roberta Ricciarelli, Stefan Spycher, Mariagrazia Staffieri, Achim Stocker, Sabine Zimmer, Jean Marc Zingg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


In the last 10 years precise cellular functions of α-tocopherol, some of which are independent of its antioxidant/radical-scavenging ability, have been revealed. Absorption of α-tocopherol from the gut is a selective process. Other tocopherols are not absorbed or are absorbed to a lesser extent. At the post-translational level, α-tocopherol inhibits protein kinase C and 6-lipoxygenase and activates protein phosphatase 2A and diacylglycerol kinase. Some genes [platelet glycoprotein IV/thrombospondin receptor/class B scavenger receptor (CD36), α-tocopherol transfer protein (α-TTP), α-tropomyosin, connective tissue growth factor and collagenase] are affected by α-tocopherol at the transcriptional level. α-Tocopherol also inhibits cell proliferation, platelet aggregation, monocyte adhesion and the oxygen burst in neutrophils. Other antioxidants, such as β-tocopherol and probucol, do not mimic these effects, suggesting a nonantioxidant, α- tocopherol-specific molecular mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1649-1652
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Cell proliferation
  • Gene expression
  • Protein kinase C
  • Vitamin E
  • α-tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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