Comparative study on the action of tocopherols and tocotrienols as antioxidant: chemical and physical effects

Chem Phys Lipids. 2003 Mar;123(1):63-75. doi: 10.1016/s0009-3084(02)00164-0.


alpha-Tocopherol is known as the most abundant and active form of vitamin E homologues in vivo, but recently the role of other forms of vitamin E has received renewed attention. The antioxidant properties were compared for alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherols and tocotrienols. The following results were obtained: (1). the corresponding tocopherols and tocotrienols exerted the same reactivities toward radicals and the same antioxidant activities against lipid peroxidation in solution and liposomal membranes; (2). tocopherols gave more significant physical effect than tocotrienols on the increase in rigidity at the membrane interior; (3). tocopherols and tocotrienols showed similar mobilities within the membranes, but tocotrienols were more readily transferred between the membranes and incorporated into the membranes than tocopherols; (4). alpha-tocopherol and alpha-tocotrienol, but not the other forms, reduced Cu(II) to give Cu(I) together with alpha-tocopheryl and alpha-tocotrienyl quinones, respectively and exerted prooxidant effect in the oxidation of methyl linoleate in SDS micelles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Copper / chemistry*
  • Dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine / chemistry*
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Free Radical Scavengers / chemistry
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Membrane Fluidity
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphatidylcholines / chemistry*
  • Tocopherols / chemistry*
  • Tocopherols / classification
  • Tocotrienols / chemistry*
  • Tocotrienols / classification


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Liposomes
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Tocotrienols
  • 1-palmitoyl-2-linoleoylphosphatidylcholine
  • dimyristoylphosphatidylsulfocholine
  • Copper
  • Tocopherols
  • Dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine