Electrophilic nitroalkene-tocopherol derivatives: synthesis, physicochemical characterization and evaluation of anti-inflammatory signaling responses

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 24;8(1):12784. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-31218-7.


Inflammation plays a major role in the onset and development of chronic non-communicable diseases like obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Combined, these diseases represent the most common causes of death worldwide, thus development of novel pharmacological approaches is crucial. Electrophilic nitroalkenes derived from fatty acids are formed endogenously and exert anti-inflammatory actions by the modification of proteins involved in inflammation signaling cascades. We have developed novel nitroalkenes derived from α-tocopherol aiming to increase its salutary actions by adding anti-inflammatory properties to a well-known nutraceutical. We synthesized and characterized an α-tocopherol-nitroalkene (NATOH) and two hydrosoluble analogues derived from Trolox (NATxME and NATx0). We analyzed the kinetics of the Michael addition reaction of these compounds with thiols in micellar systems aiming to understand the effect of hydrophobic partition on the reactivity of nitroalkenes. We studied NATxME in vitro showing it exerts non-conventional anti-inflammatory responses by inducing Nrf2-Keap1-dependent gene expression and inhibiting the secretion of NF-κB dependent pro-inflammatory cytokines. NATxME was also effective in vivo, inhibiting neutrophil recruitment in a zebrafish model of inflammation. This work lays the foundation for the rational design of a new therapeutic strategy for the prevention and treatment of metabolic and inflammation-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkenes / chemical synthesis*
  • Alkenes / chemistry
  • Alkenes / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemical synthesis*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Chromans / chemical synthesis
  • Chromans / chemistry
  • Chromans / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Micelles
  • Neutrophil Infiltration / drug effects
  • RAW 264.7 Cells
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tocopherols / chemical synthesis*
  • Tocopherols / chemistry
  • Tocopherols / pharmacology*
  • Zebrafish


  • Alkenes
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Chromans
  • Micelles
  • Tocopherols
  • 6-hydroxy-2,5,7,8-tetramethylchroman-2-carboxylic acid