Purpose: Despite numerous studies on the RRR- and all-rac-α-tocopherol isoform of vitamin E (VE) during aging, this relationship has not been examined in specific tissues. Since α-tocopherol is the most abundant of VE's eight isoforms, and VE is an important antioxidant that impacts the aging process, we analyzed α-tocopherol levels in plasma and tissues of mice at progressive ages. Moreover, we examined protein and mRNA expression levels of hepatic α-tocopherol transfer protein (α-TTP), which specifically binds α-tocopherol, during aging.
Methods: The α-tocopherol levels in plasma, liver, cerebrum, hippocampus, cerebellum, heart, kidney, epididymal adipose tissue, testis, pancreas, soleus muscle, plantaris muscle, and duodenum from male C57BL/6NCr mice at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of age were determined by HPLC and fluorescence detection. Also, hepatic α-TTP protein and mRNA expression levels were analyzed by Western blot and qPCR, respectively.
Results: Tissue-specific, age-related changes of α-tocopherol levels normalized by tissue weight were observed in the liver, cerebrum, hippocampus, cerebellum, heart, kidney, and epididymal adipose tissue. Specifically, α-tocopherol levels in epididymal adipose tissue increased greatly as mice aged from 6 to 24 months. Although hepatic α-TTP protein levels also showed age-related changes, α-TTP mRNA expression levels measured after overnight fasting were not altered.
Conclusions: In this study, we determined that α-tocopherol levels and hepatic α-TTP protein levels of mice undergo significant tissue-specific, age-related changes. This is the first report to investigate VE in terms of the α-tocopherol levels in plasma and various tissues of mice and hepatic α-TTP protein levels during aging.
Keywords: Aging; Liver; Vitamin E; α-Tocopherol; α-Tocopherol transfer protein.