Monday, December 22, 2008

Vitamin E reduces inflammation in vivo

The December, 2008 issue of the journal Experimental Physiology published the discovery of researchers at the University of Illinois of an anti-inflammatory effect for vitamin E in an animal model of inflammation.

Scientists are becoming increasingly aware of the role of inflammation in a number of diseases and conditions. Chronic inflammation of the skeletal muscles in humans is a cause of significant physical impairment. Antioxidants such as vitamin E have been shown to reduce proinflammatory cytokine expression in cell culture studies, but the vitamin's effects had not been tested in the heart and skeletal muscle of mice with induced systemic inflammation.

University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Kimberly Huey and colleagues administered vitamin E or a placebo to mice for three days before injecting the animals with a low dose of E. coli lipopolysaccharide to induce inflammation. A control group received saline injections. The team found increased levels of the cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) in the skeletal and cardiac muscle of mice that received lipopolysaccharide, yet among those that received vitamin E, levels of these cytokines were significantly lower than those of the placebo group.

The cytokines function as intercellular communicators which assist in immune response, yet can lead to excessive inflammation. Additionally, the researchers observed decreased activation of nuclear factor kappa-beta (another agent involved in inflammation) in mice that received vitamin E. Continue Reading

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