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Alpha-tocopherol: looking beyond an antioxidant

By Kaya Nusret Engin


Vitamin E is an important natural antioxidant, and its most common and biologically active form is α-tocopherol. In addition to this, specific regulatory effects of vitamin E have been revealing. The body exerts a certain effort to regulate its tissue levels with specific tocopherol transport proteins and membrane receptors. Antiproliferative and protein kinase C-supressing effects of alpha-tocopherol have been previously demonstrated, which have not been mimicked by beta-tocopherol or probucol. Protein kinase C promises to be an important area of interest in the means of glaucoma and cataractogenesis. It has been shown in different models that retinal vasculer dysfunction due to hyperglycemia could be prevented by alpha-tocopherol via the diachylglycerol-protein kinase C pathway. Glutamate transporter activity has been shown to be modulated by protein kinase C. This pathway is also important in intraocular pressure-lowering effects of prostaglandin and its analogs in glaucoma therapy. Filtran surgery became another possible area of usage of alpha-tocopherol since its antiproliferative effect has been demonstrated in human Tenon's capsule fibroblasts. Prevention of posterior capsule opacification is another area for future studies. It is evident that when correct and safe modulation is the objective, alpha-tocopherol merits a concern beyond its mere antioxidant properties

Topics: Review
Publisher: Molecular Vision
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