Vitamin E therapy in Parkinson's disease

Toxicology. 2003 Jul 15;189(1-2):129-46. doi: 10.1016/s0300-483x(03)00158-6.


Though the etiology is not well understood, late-onset Parkinson's disease (PD) appears to result from several key factors including exposure to unknown environmental toxicants, toxic endogenous compounds and genetic alterations. A plethora of scientific evidence suggest that these environmental and endogenous factors cause PD by producing mitochondrial (mito) oxidative stress and damage in the substantia nigra, leading to cell death. Thus assuming a critical role for mito oxidative stress in PD, therapies to treat or prevent PD must target these mito and protect them against oxidative damage. The focus of this article is to briefly review the experimental and clinical evidence for the role of environmental toxicants and mito oxidative stress/damage in PD as well as discuss the potential protective role of mito d-alpha-tocopherol (T) enrichment and vitamin E therapy in PD. New experimental data are presented that supports the enrichment of mito with T as a critical event in cytoprotection against toxic mito-derived oxidative stress. We propose that chronic, high dose vitamin E dietary supplementation or parenteral vitamin E administration (e.g. vitamin E succinate) may serve as a successful therapeutic strategy for the prevention or treatment of PD (by enriching substantia nigra mito with protective levels of T).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • alpha-Tocopherol / metabolism
  • alpha-Tocopherol / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • alpha-Tocopherol