Vitamin E: An overview of major research directions

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154 Scopus citations


During the last 90 years since the discovery of vitamin E, research has focused on different properties of this molecule, the focus often depending on the specific techniques and scientific knowledge present at each time. Originally discovered as a dietary factor essential for reproduction in rats, vitamin E has revealed in the meantime many more important molecular properties, such as the scavenging of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species with consequent prevention of oxidative damage associated with many diseases, or the modulation of signal transduction and gene expression in antioxidant and non-antioxidant manners. Research over the last 30 years has also resolved the biosynthesis and occurrence of vitamin E in plants, the proteins involved in the cellular uptake, tissue distribution and metabolism, and defined a congenital recessive neurological disease, ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED), characterized by impaired enrichment of α-tocopherol in plasma as a result of mutations in the liver α-tocopherol transfer gene. This review is giving a brief introduction about vitamin E by following the major research directions since its discovery with a historical perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-422
Number of pages23
JournalMolecular Aspects of Medicine
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Gene expression
  • History
  • Non-antioxidant
  • Signal transduction
  • Tocopherol
  • Tocotrienol
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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