Vitamin E: Regulatory Role on Signal Transduction

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29 Scopus citations


Vitamin E modulates signal transduction pathways by several molecular mechanisms. As a hydrophobic molecule located mainly in membranes it contributes together with other lipids to the physical and structural characteristics such as membrane stability, curvature, fluidity, and the organization into microdomains (lipid rafts). By acting as the main lipid-soluble antioxidant, it protects other lipids such as mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA, respectively) against chemical reactions with reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS, respectively) and prevents membrane destabilization and cellular dysfunction. In cells, vitamin E affects signaling in redox-dependent and redox-independent molecular mechanisms by influencing the activity of enzymes and receptors involved in modulating specific signal transduction and gene expression pathways. By protecting and preventing depletion of MUFA and PUFA it indirectly enables regulatory effects that are mediated by the numerous lipid mediators derived from these lipids. In recent years, some vitamin E metabolites have been observed to affect signal transduction and gene expression and their relevance for the regulatory function of vitamin E is beginning to be elucidated. In particular, the modulation of the CD36/FAT scavenger receptor/fatty acids transporter by vitamin E may influence many cellular signaling pathways relevant for lipid homeostasis, inflammation, survival/apoptosis, angiogenesis, tumorigenesis, neurodegeneration, and senescence. Thus, vitamin E has an important role in modulating signal transduction and gene expression pathways relevant for its uptake, distribution, metabolism, and molecular action that when impaired affect physiological and patho-physiological cellular functions relevant for the prevention of a number of diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-478
Number of pages23
JournalIUBMB life
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • alpha-tocopherol
  • alpha-tocopheryl phosphate
  • atherosclerosis
  • cancer
  • CD36 scavenger receptor
  • fatty acids
  • gene expression
  • MUFA
  • neurodegeneration
  • non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • PUFA
  • senescence
  • signal transduction
  • transport
  • vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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