Is vitamin E the only lipid-soluble, chain-breaking antioxidant in human blood plasma and erythrocyte membranes?

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1983 Feb 15;221(1):281-90. doi: 10.1016/0003-9861(83)90145-5.


The concentration of lipid-soluble, chain-breaking antioxidants in human plasma and in erythrocyte ghosts have been determined for the first time by an inhibited-autoxidation method. The results are very similar to the concentrations of vitamin E measured for the same blood components by the HPLC method. It is concluded that vitamin E, which is largely present as alpha-tocopherol, is the only significant lipid-soluble, chain-breaking type of antioxidant present in human blood. The concentration of vitamin E in the plasma lipids divided by the concentration of vitamin E in the ghost membrane lipids is approximately a constant despite the large differences in vitamin E-intake and in plasma lipid concentrations in different individuals. Vitamin E/lipid ratios for plasma and ghosts were larger for subjects taking a supplement of alpha-tocopherol acetate of 100 IU per week, compared to nonsupplemented subjects (based on data from a limited number of subjects). A larger supplement of 2800 IU per week did not significantly increase the vitamin E/lipid ratios.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / blood*
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / metabolism*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Membrane Lipids / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Solubility
  • Vitamin E / blood*


  • Antioxidants
  • Lipids
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Vitamin E