Atherosclerotic processes are drawing the attention of some Alzheimer's researchers who point to a number of links between atherosclerotic disease and Alzheimer's disease. It is only natural then, that vitamin E, a hot topic in the study of cardiovascular disease, should garner some attention in the Alzheimer's community.
Research into arterial plaque formation suggests that an inflammatory process is involved. A study by Ishwarlal Jialal and Sridevi Devaraj, which appeared in the April 8 Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, combines two lines of thought: that some part of this inflammatory process is promoted by the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1-β (IL-1-β) and that alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E; AT) can help prevent the formation of arterial plaques, in part by acting on the inflammatory process.
The authors had previously shown that AT has a number of molecular effects in vivo, among them a decrease in IL-1-β release. The present in vitro study, in white blood cells, sought to identify the mechanism of this inhibition. A number of candidate processes were considered, and the results suggest that AT does not inhibit IL-1-β release through protein kinase C inhibition or via the cyclooxygenase-prostaglandin E pathway, nor does it act through a classic chain-breaking antioxidant mechanism. Instead, AT appears to decrease IL-1-β release by inhibiting the pathway that produces leukotriene B from 5-lipoxygnase. The authors also found that AT had no effect on IL-1-β mRNA levels, suggesting a posttranscriptional effect.—Hakon Heimer
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- Devaraj S, Jialal I. Alpha-tocopherol decreases interleukin-1 beta release from activated human monocytes by inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1999 Apr;19(4):1125-33. PubMed.