Vitamin E in neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer's disease.Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec; 1031:249-62.AN
Oxidative stress is important in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The brain contains high levels of oxidizable lipids that must be protected by antioxidants. Low concentrations of vitamin E, quantitatively the major lipophilic antioxidant in the brain, are frequently observed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD patients, suggesting that supplementation with vitamin E might delay the development of AD. In a placebo-controlled trial, vitamin E (2000 IU/day, 2 years) slowed (-53%) functional deterioration in patients with moderate AD (Sano et al., N. Engl. J. Med. 336: 1216-1222, 1997). Recently, use of vitamin E and vitamin C supplements in combination was found to be associated with reduced prevalence (-78%) and incidence (-64%) of AD in elderly population (Zandi et al., Arch. Neurol. 61: 82-88, 2004). These results are consistent with the ability of the supplementation with vitamin E (400 IU/day, 1 month) to increase its levels in CSF (123%) and plasma (145%) of AD patients and, in combination with vitamin C (1000 g/day), to decrease the susceptibility of CSF lipoproteins (up to -32%) to in vitro oxidation (Kontush et al., Free Radic. Biol. Med. 31: 345-354, 2001). In addition, vitamin E reduced lipid peroxidation and amyloid deposition in a transgenic mice model of AD (Sung et al., FASEB J. 18: 323-325, 2004). Computer modeling of the influence of vitamin E on lipoprotein oxidation reveals that the vitamin develops antioxidative activity in CSF lipoproteins in the presence of physiologically relevant, low amounts of oxidants. By contrast, under similar conditions, vitamin E behaves as a pro-oxidant in plasma lipoproteins, consistent with the model of tocopherol-mediated peroxidation (Stocker, Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 5: 422-433, 1994). This distinction is related to major differences in the levels of vitamin E (50 nM vs. 30 microM) and oxidizable lipids (4 microM vs. 2.5 mM) between CSF and plasma, which result in major differences in oxidative conditions (per unit of vitamin E) between CSF and plasma in the presence of similar amounts of oxidants. Altogether, these data suggest that vitamin E may be effective against in vivo oxidation of CSF lipoproteins and brain lipids, and offer new perspectives in the treatment of AD and other neurodegenerative disorders.