Vitamin D is a membrane antioxidant. Ability to inhibit iron-dependent lipid peroxidation in liposomes compared to cholesterol, ergosterol and tamoxifen and relevance to anticancer action

FEBS Lett. 1993 Jul 12;326(1-3):285-8. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(93)81809-e.


Vitamin D is a membrane antioxidant: thus Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and its active metabolite 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol and also Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and 7-dehydrocholesterol (pro-Vitamin D3) all inhibited iron-dependent liposomal lipid peroxidation. Cholecalciferol, 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol and ergocalciferol were all of similar effectiveness as inhibitors of lipid peroxidation but were less effective than 7-dehydrocholesterol; this was a better inhibitor of lipid peroxidation than cholesterol, though not ergosterol. The structural basis for the antioxidant ability of these Vitamin D compounds is considered in terms of their molecular relationship to cholesterol and ergosterol. Furthermore, the antioxidant ability of Vitamin D is compared to that of the anticancer drug tamoxifen and its 4-hydroxy metabolite (structural mimics of cholesterol) and discussed in relation to the anticancer action of this vitamin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cattle
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / pharmacology
  • Ergosterol / pharmacology
  • Iron / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Liposomes / metabolism*
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Liposomes
  • Tamoxifen
  • Vitamin D
  • Cholesterol
  • Iron
  • Ergosterol