COLUMBUS, Ohio A natural form of vitamin E called alpha-tocotrienol can trigger production of a protein in the brain that clears toxins from nerve cells, preventing those cells from dying after a stroke, new research shows.
This process is one of three mechanisms identified so far that this form of vitamin E uses to protect brain cells after a stroke, meaning that this natural substance might be more potent than drugs targeting single mechanisms for preventing stroke damage, according to Ohio State University scientists who have studied the nutrient for more than a decade.
These researchers previously reported that the tocotrienol form of vitamin E protects the brain after a stroke by blocking an enzyme from releasing toxic fatty acids and inhibiting activity of a gene that can lead to neuron death.
Vitamin E occurs naturally in eight different forms, and all of this work is focused on the tocotrienol form, also known as TCT. The commonly known form of vitamin E belongs to a variety called tocopherols. TCT is not abundant in the American diet but is available as a nutritional supplement. It is a common component of a typical Southeast Asian diet.
In this new study, the researchers first clarified the role of a protein called MRP1, or multidrug resistance-associated protein 1. This protein clears away a compound that can cause toxicity and cell death when it builds up in neurons as a result of the trauma of blocked blood flow associated with a stroke.
They then determined that TCT taken orally influences production of this protein by elevating the activity of genes that make MRP1. This appears to occur at the microRNA level; a microRNA is a small segment of RNA that influences a gene's protein-building function.
This is one of the first studies to provide evidence that a safe nutrient a vitamin can alter microRNA biology to produce a favorable disease outcome," said Chandan Sen, professor and vice chair f
|Contact: Chandan Sen|
Ohio State University