α-tocopherol inhibits atherogenesis and improves cardiac function in mice independently of its antioxidant properties

in Vascular Biology
Authors:
Isabelle Coornaert I Coornaert, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, 2610, Belgium

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Annelies Breynaert A Breynaert, University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, 2000, Belgium

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Nina Hermans N Hermans, University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, 2000, Belgium

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Guido Ry De Meyer G De Meyer, Laboratory of Physiopharmacology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, B-2610, Belgium

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Wim Martinet W Martinet, University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium

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Correspondence: Wim Martinet, Email: wim.martinet@uantwerpen.be
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The impact of α-tocopherol on atherosclerosis is unclear and controversial. While some studies suggest potential benefits, such as antioxidant properties that may reduce oxidative stress, other research indicates no significant preventive effects. The intricate interplay of various factors, including dosage, individual differences, and study methodologies, contributes to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding α-tocopherol’s role in atherosclerosis. Further research is needed to clarify its impact and establish clearer guidelines. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the impact of α-tocopherol on atherogenesis in ApoE-/- fibrillin (Fbn)1C1039G/+ mice, which is a unique mouse model of advanced atherosclerosis with typical features such as large necrotic cores, high levels of inflammation and intraplaque neovascularization that resemble the unstable phenotype of human plaques. ApoE-/- Fbn1C1039G+/- mice were fed a western-type diet (WD) supplemented with a high dose of α-tocopherol (500 mg/kg diet), while control mice were fed a WD containing a low dose of α-tocopherol (50 mg/kg diet). The high dose of α-tocopherol reduced plaque thickness and necrotic core area in the right common carotid artery (RCCA) after 24 weeks WD. Moreover, α-tocopherol decreased plaque formation and intraplaque neovascularization in the RCCA. In addition to its antiatherogenic effect, chronic supplementation of α-tocopherol improved cardiac function in ApoE-/- Fbn1C1039G/+ mice. However, chronic supplementation of α-tocopherol did not decrease lipid peroxidation. On the contrary, α-tocopherol acted as a prooxidant by increasing plasma levels of oxidized LDL and plaque malondialdehyde, an end product of lipid peroxidation. Our data indicate that α-tocopherol inhibits atherogenesis and improves cardiac function independent of its antioxidant properties.

 

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