Characterization of Cellular Uptake and Distribution of Vitamin E

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1031:368-75. doi: 10.1196/annals.1331.047.


We previously reported that tocotrienols acted as more potent inhibitors against selenium deficiency-induced cell death than the corresponding tocopherol isoforms (J. Biol. Chem. 2003;278:39428-39434). In the present study, we first compared the differences in the cellular uptake between alpha-tocopherol (alpha-Toc) and alpha-tocotrienol (alpha-Toc-3). The initial rate of cellular uptake of alpha-Toc-3 was 70-fold higher than that of alpha-Toc. Subcellular fractionation analysis of alpha-Toc-3 and alpha-Toc-fortified cells showed similar cellular distribution of these antioxidants, which was directly proportional to the lipid distribution. The cells containing similar amounts of alpha-Toc-3 and alpha-Toc showed similar resistance against the oxidative stress caused by peroxides. These results suggest that the apparent higher cytoprotective effect of alpha-Toc-3 than alpha-Toc is primarily ascribed to its higher cellular uptake.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cell Fractionation
  • Cell Survival
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Subcellular Fractions / chemistry*
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism*
  • Tocotrienols
  • Vitamin E / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin E / analysis*
  • Vitamin E / metabolism*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology
  • alpha-Tocopherol / analysis
  • alpha-Tocopherol / metabolism
  • alpha-Tocopherol / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Tocotrienols
  • Vitamin E
  • tocotrienol, alpha
  • alpha-Tocopherol