TitleInteractions between α-tocopherol, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and lipoxygenases during embryogenesis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLebold, KM, Traber, M
JournalFree radical biology & medicine
Date Published01/2014
KeywordsVitamin E Deficiency

α-Tocopherol is a lipid-soluble antioxidant that is specifically required for reproduction and embryogenesis. However, since its discovery, α-tocopherol's specific biologic functions, other than as an antioxidant, and the mechanism(s) mediating its requirement for embryogenesis remain unknown. As an antioxidant, α-tocopherol protects polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from lipid peroxidation. α-Tocopherol is probably required during embryonic development to protect PUFAs that are crucial to development, specifically arachidonic (ARA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. Additionally, ARA and DHA are metabolized to bioactive lipid mediators via lipoxygenase enzymes, and α-tocopherol may directly protect, or it may mediate the production and/or actions of, these lipid mediators. In this review, we discuss how α-tocopherol (1) prevents the nonspecific, radical-mediated peroxidation of PUFAs, (2) functions within a greater antioxidant network to modulate the production and/or function of lipid mediators derived from 12- and 12/15-lipoxygenases, and (3) modulates 5-lipoxygenase activity. The application and implication of such interactions are discussed in the context of α-tocopherol requirements during embryogenesis.