Auditorium De Lieve
Vitamin E Symposium
Form of presentation:
VESS 3 Plenary Lecture 1:
100 Years of vitamin E – A historical tour throughout the scientific milestones of vitamin E and its antioxidant paradigm
Prof. Angelo Azzi | Tufts University | Switzerland
The name vitamin E, was given by Barnett and Sure who suggested that the factor proposed by Evans and Bishop as substance “X,” be termed vitamin “E“ as the next vitamin after the A, B, C and D vitamins had been already described. The identification of vitamin E with a-tocopherol was made in 1936 by Evans’ group. One year later β-tocopherol and 11 years later δ-tocopherol were isolated. Tocotrienol (named zetatocopherol) was first described in 1957 and later isolated in 1961. The antioxidant property of tocopherols was reported by Olcott and Emerson in 1937. Inherited vitamin E deficiency, AVED, characterized by a form of neuromyopathy was first described in 1981. The disease was localized to chromosome 8q and found to be caused by a mutation of the a-TTP gene. Later work has been carried out mostly in form of clinical studies on inherited vitamin E deficiency, AVED, immune protection by vitamin E, anti-inflammatory action, especially to protect against NAFELD. The atherosclerosis prevention studies, numerous and expensive, have been successful in animal models but not in humans. As to the molecular mechanism of action of vitamin E, for many years it has been stated that it would act only against oxidative damage. This view has been challenged by indicating that in vitro and in vivo vitamin E modulates gene activity. More recently, potential activated forms of vitamin E have multiplied, including tocopherol phosphate and metabolic products of vitamin E. As to the molecular targets, kinases, phospholipids and microRNA have been considered. Unfortunately, science has not clarified in 100 years all the facets related to the action of this important molecule. Fortunately for researchers, many questions are still unanswered, and a great amount of work remains to be done.