Vitamin E and Mast Cells

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


Mast cells play an important role in the immune system by interacting with B and T cells and by releasing several mediators involved in activating other cells. Hyperreactivity of mast cells and their uncontrolled accumulation in tissues lead to increased release of inflammatory mediators contributing to the pathogenesis of several diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and allergic disorders such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. Interference with mast cell proliferation, survival, degranulation, and migration by synthetic or natural compounds may represent a preventive strategy for the management of these diseases. Natural vitamin E covers a group of eight analogues-the α-, β-, γ-, and δ-tocopherols and the α-, β-, γ-, and δ-tocotrienols, but only α-tocopherol is efficiently retained by the liver and distributed to peripheral tissues. Mast cells preferentially locate in the proximity of tissues that interface with the external environment (the epithelial surface of the skin, the gastrointestinal mucosa, and the respiratory system), what may render them accessible to treatments with inefficiently retained natural vitamin E analogues and synthetic derivatives. In addition to scavenging free radicals, the natural vitamin E analogues differently modulate signal transduction and gene expression in several cell lines; in mast cells, protein kinase C, protein phosphatase 2A, and protein kinase B are affected by vitamin E, leading to the modulation of proliferation, apoptosis, secretion, and migration. In this chapter, the possibility that vitamin E can prevent diseases with mast cells involvement by modulating signal transduction and gene expression is evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVitamine E
EditorsGerald Litwack
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameVitamins and Hormones
ISSN (Print)0083-6729

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


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