COLUMBUS, Ohio Blocking the function of an enzyme in the brain with a specific kind of vitamin E can prevent nerve cells from dying after a stroke, new research suggests.
In a study using mouse brain cells, scientists found that the tocotrienol form of vitamin E, an alternative to the popular drugstore supplement, stopped the enzyme from releasing fatty acids that eventually kill neurons.
The Ohio State University researchers have been studying how this form of vitamin E protects the brain in animal and cell models for a decade, and intend to pursue tests of its potential to both prevent and treat strokes in humans.
"Our research suggests that the different forms of natural vitamin E have distinct functions. The relatively poorly studied tocotrienol form of natural vitamin E targets specific pathways to protect against neural cell death and rescues the brain after stroke injury," said Chandan Sen, professor and vice chair for research in Ohio State's Department of Surgery and senior author of the study.
"Here, we identify a novel target for tocotrienol that explains how neural cells are protected."
The research appears online and is scheduled for later print publication in the Journal of Neurochemistry.
Vitamin E occurs naturally in eight different forms. The best-known form of vitamin E belongs to a variety called tocopherols. The form of vitamin E in this study, tocotrienol or 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.
Sen's lab discovered tocotrienol vitamin E's ability to protect the brain 10 years ago. But this current study offers the most specific details about how that protection works, said Sen, who is also a deputy director of Ohio State's Heart and Lung Research Institute.
"We have studied an enzyme that is present all the time, but one that is activated after a stro
|Contact: Chandan Sen|
Ohio State University