High purity tocotrienols attenuate atherosclerotic lesion formation in apoE-KO mice

J Nutr Biochem. 2017 Oct;48:44-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2017.06.009. Epub 2017 Jun 24.


Previous studies have demonstrated that tocotrienol (T3) has antiatherogenic effects. However, the T3 preparations used in those studies contained considerable amounts of tocopherol (Toc), which might affect the biological activity of T3. There is little information on the effect of highly purified T3 on atherosclerosis formation. This study investigated the effect of high-purity T3 on atherosclerotic lesion formation and the underlying mechanisms. Male apolipoprotein E knockout (apoE-KO) mice were fed a cholesterol-containing diet either alone or supplemented with T3 concentrate (Toc-free T3) or with α-Toc for 12 weeks. ApoE-KO mice fed the 0.2% T3-supplemented diet showed reduced atherosclerotic lesion formation in the aortic root. The 0.2% T3 diet induced Slc27a1 and Ldlr gene expression levels in the liver, whereas the α-Toc-supplemented diet did not affect those expression levels. T3 was predominantly deposited in fat tissue in the T3 diet-fed mice, whereas α-Toc was preferentially accumulated in liver in the α-Toc diet-fed mice. Considered together, these data demonstrate that dietary T3 exerts anti-atherosclerotic effect in apoE-KO mice. The characteristic tissue distribution and biological effects of T3, that are substantially different from those of Toc, may contribute to the antiatherogenic properties of T3.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cholesterol; Tocopherol; Tocotrienol; apoE-KO mouse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Lipids / blood
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / drug therapy*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / etiology
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / genetics
  • Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Tocotrienols / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Vitamin E / metabolism


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Blood Glucose
  • Lipids
  • Tocotrienols
  • Vitamin E
  • Sucrose