TitleVitamin E sequestration by liver fat in humans.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsViolet, P-C, Ebenuwa, IC, Wang, Y, Niyyati, M, Padayatty, SJ, Head, B, Wilkins, K, Chung, S, Thakur, V, Ulatowski, L, Atkinson, J, Ghelfi, M, Smith, S, Tu, H, Bobe, G, Liu, C-Y, Herion, DW, Shamburek, RD, Manor, D, Traber, M, Levine, M
JournalJCI Insight
Date Published01/2020

BACKGROUNDWe hypothesized that obesity-associated hepatosteatosis is a pathophysiological chemical depot for fat-soluble vitamins and altered normal physiology. Using α-tocopherol (vitamin E) as a model vitamin, pharmacokinetics and kinetics principles were used to determine whether excess liver fat sequestered α-tocopherol in women with obesity-associated hepatosteatosis versus healthy controls.METHODSCustom-synthesized deuterated α-tocopherols (d3- and d6-α-tocopherols) were administered to hospitalized healthy women and women with hepatosteatosis under investigational new drug guidelines. Fluorescently labeled α-tocopherol was custom-synthesized for cell studies.RESULTSIn healthy subjects, 85% of intravenous d6-α-tocopherol disappeared from the circulation within 20 minutes but reappeared within minutes and peaked at 3-4 hours; d3- and d6-α-tocopherols localized to lipoproteins. Lipoprotein redistribution occurred only in vivo within 1 hour, indicating a key role of the liver in uptake and re-release. Compared with healthy subjects who received 2 mg, subjects with hepatosteatosis had similar d6-α-tocopherol entry rates into liver but reduced initial release rates (P < 0.001). Similarly, pharmacokinetics parameters were reduced in hepatosteatosis subjects, indicating reduced hepatic d6-α-tocopherol output. Reductions in kinetics and pharmacokinetics parameters in hepatosteatosis subjects who received 2 mg were echoed by similar reductions in healthy subjects when comparing 5- and 2-mg doses. In vitro, fluorescent-labeled α-tocopherol localized to lipid in fat-loaded hepatocytes, indicating sequestration.CONCLUSIONSThe unique role of the liver in vitamin E physiology is dysregulated by excess liver fat. Obesity-associated hepatosteatosis may produce unrecognized hepatic vitamin E sequestration, which might subsequently drive liver disease. Our findings raise the possibility that hepatosteatosis may similarly alter hepatic physiology of other fat-soluble vitamins.TRIAL REGISTRATIONClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00862433.FUNDINGNational Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and NIH grants DK053213-13, DK067494, and DK081761.

Alternate JournalJCI Insight
PubMed ID31821172
PubMed Central IDPMC7030816