Vitamin E analogs could mitigate cognitive decline in Alzheimer's

19-Apr-2022

The study reportedly showed alpha-tocotrienol and gamma-tocotrienol can reduce Aβ aggregation at 10 μM concentration, but not alpha-tocopherol (regular vitamin E)

Phytogaia has highlighted recent study, published in Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports, which examined the effects of vitamin E analogs alpha tocotrienol (α-T3) and gamma-tocotrienol (γ-T3), as well as alpha-tocopherol (regular vitamin E) in reducing beta-amyloid aggregation and thereby enhancing cognition in an in-vitro fibril model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The two neuropathological hallmarks of AD are the accumulation of beta-amyloid (Aβ) peptides to form senile plaques, and the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein to form neurofibrillary tangles in the neurons. They both lead to neuronal dysfunction and eventually to impaired cognitive performance. Vitamin E, especially tocotrienols, has been examined in this context, owing to its antioxidant capabilities and the biological feasibility of its potential role in preventing the degenerative processes of AD.

In this study, a team of researchers at the Shiga University of Medical Science and Showa School of Medicine, Japan used human Aβ1-42 peptide to examine the effects of alpha-tocopherol, alpha-tocotrienol and gamma-tocotrienol at various concentrations on Aβ42 aggregation. They further investigated the disaggregation effect of these vitamin E analogs on preformed Aβ42 fibrils (the major component of amyloid plaques).

The study reportedly showed alpha-tocotrienol and gamma-tocotrienol can reduce Aβ aggregation at 10 μM concentration, but not alpha-tocopherol. Furthermore, both α-T3 and γ-T3 were capable to significantly disaggregate preformed Aβ42 fibrils while α-TOC does not at such low concentration. Among the analogs, gamma tocotrienol seems to have the broadest beneficial effects as it reduces Aβ aggregation, disaggregates preformed fibrils and reduces Aβ oligomerisation, which ultimately leads to improved neuronal functions and eventually, enhanced cognitive performance.

“There is a rapid growth in the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease throughout the world, and it’s the most frequent cause of dementia in Western societies. It’s important to find ways such as supplementation of tocotrienols to mitigate the progression of AD, especially at its early stage. This current research is the first to reveal that specific tocotrienol analogues such as α-T3 and γ-T3 have a direct effect on Aβ aggregation and fibril formation. The findings shed light on tocotrienols' possible relevance in the development of potential therapeutic agents for AD,” said Dr Ariati Aris, Scientific Affairs Specialist at PhytoGaia.

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“Tocotrienols were reported 1000 times more potent than tocopherol in protecting neuron cells from toxin challenges in 2000. I am encouraged to read that this new study further consolidates tocotrienols’ brain protective effect with its ability, at very low concentration, to breakdown the beta-amyloid plaques while the common alpha-tocopherol doesn’t,” said Bryan See, VP of PhytoGaia.

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