The mitochondrion is the greatest source, as well as the target, of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Increasing evidence indicates that vitamin E can act as a biological modifier independently of its antioxidant activity. Experimental evidence available shows that vitamin E is capable of dose-dependently regulating mitochondrial generation of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. Vitamin E may modulate mitochondrial production and levels of superoxide by preventing electron leakage, by mediating the superoxide generation systems directly and/or by scavenging superoxide generated. By downregulating mitochondrial generation of superoxide and related ROS, vitamin E not only attenuates oxidative damage but also modulates the expression and activation of signal transduction pathways and other redox-sensitive biological modifiers.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel