Molecular action of vitamin E in lipoprotein oxidation: implications for atherosclerosis.

Free Radic Biol Med 2000;28(12):1795-1805.

Molecular action of vitamin E in lipoprotein oxidation: implications for atherosclerosis.

Thomas SR, Stocker R.

Abstract

Abstract:

The oxidation theory of atherosclerosis proposes that the oxidative modification of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) plays a central role in the disease. Although a direct causative role of LDL oxidation for atherogenesis has not been established, oxidized lipoproteins are detected in atherosclerotic lesions, and in vitro oxidized LDL exhibits putative pro-atherogenic activities. alpha-Tocopherol (alpha-TOH; vitamin E), the major lipid-soluble antioxidant present in lipoproteins, is thought to be antiatherogenic. However, results of vitamin E interventions on atherosclerosis in experimental animals and cardiovascular disease in humans have been inconclusive. Also, recent mechanistic studies demonstrate that the role of alpha-TOH during the early stages of lipoprotein lipid peroxidation is complex and that the vitamin does not act as a chain-breaking antioxidant. In the absence of co-antioxidants, compounds capable of reducing the alpha-TOH radical and exporting the radical from the lipoprotein particle, alpha-TOH exhibits anti- or pro-oxidant activity for lipoprotein lipids depending on the degree of radical flux and reactivity of the oxidant. The model of tocopherol-mediated peroxidation (TMP) explains the complex molecular action of alpha-TOH during lipoprotein lipid peroxidation and antioxidation. This article outlines the salient features of TMP, comments on whether TMP is relevant for in vivo lipoprotein lipid oxidation, and discusses how co-antioxidants may be required to attenuate lipoprotein lipid oxidation in vivo and perhaps atherosclerosis.