Pilot study on the effect of parenteral vitamin E on ischemia and reperfusion induced liver injury: a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6):1360-70. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2004.05.003.


Background and aims: Liver surgery usually involves ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) which results in oxidative stress and cell damage. The administration of antioxidants should diminish or prevent this damage. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the antioxidant vitamin E on I/R injury.

Methods: We carried out a placebo-controlled double-blind study on 68 patients undergoing elective, tumor-related, partial liver resection. 47 patients were qualified for the per protocol population based evaluation. The patients were randomly assigned to two groups. The day before surgery one group received three infusions containing vitamin E (600 IU=540 mg vitamin E emulsion). The other group received three infusions of placebo.

Results: Length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) was significantly shorter in the verum group than in the placebo group (P<0.05). There were signs of improvement for AUC AST (P<0.05), ALT and GLDH in the verum group after surgery. Serum vitamin E concentration increased after administration of vitamin E infusion and declined in both treatment groups after surgery (P<0.01). In the verum group vitamin E deficiency was prevented while vitamin E concentration remained low in the placebo group (P<0.01).

Conclusions: The findings from this study indicate that preoperative administration of vitamin E is safe and that this treatment may have beneficial effects by reducing the impact of I/R injury in liver surgery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Length of Stay
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / injuries
  • Liver / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E