▪ Abstract 

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western world. Its incidence has also been increasing lately in developing countries. Several lines of evidence support a role for oxidative stress and inflammation in atherogenesis. Oxidation of lipoproteins is a hallmark in atherosclerosis. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein induces inflammation as it induces adhesion and influx of monocytes and influences cytokine release by monocytes. A number of proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) modulate monocyte adhesion to endothelium. C-reactive protein (CRP), a prototypic marker of inflammation, is a risk marker for CVD and it could contribute to atherosclerosis. Hence, dietary micronutrients having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may have a potential beneficial effect with regard to cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Several lines of evidence suggest that among different forms of vitamin E, α-tocopherol (AT) has potential beneficial effects with regard to cardiovascular disease. AT supplementation in human subjects and animal models has been shown to decrease lipid peroxidation, superoxide (O-) production by impairing the assembly of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (reduced form) oxidase as well as by decreasing the expression of scavenger receptors (SR-A and CD36), particularly important in the formation of foam cells. AT therapy, especially at high doses, has been shown to decrease the release of proinflammatory cytokines, the chemokine IL-8 and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) levels as well as decrease adhesion of monocytes to endothelium. In addition, AT has been shown to decrease CRP levels, in patients with CVD and in those with risk factors for CVD. The mechanisms that account for nonantioxidant effects of AT include the inhibition of protein kinase C, 5-lipoxygenase, tyrosine–kinase as well as cyclooxygenase-2. Based on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, AT (at the appropriate dose and form) could have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease in a high-risk population.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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