α-Tocotrienol represents the most potent neuroprotective form of natural vitamin E that is Generally Recognized As Safe certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Researchers led by Chandan K. Sen Davis Heart & Lung Research Institute, Ohio State University have recently identified a third mechanism by which tocotrienol protects brain cells after a stroke.
These researchers previously reported that the tocotrienol form of vitamin E protects the brain after a stroke by blocking an enzyme from releasing toxic fatty acids and inhibiting activity of a gene that can lead to neuron death.
The new research shows that tocotrienol can trigger production of a protein in the brain that clears toxins from nerve cells, preventing those cells from dying after a stroke.
This protein called MRP1, or multidrug resistance-associated protein 1, clears away a compound that can cause toxicity and cell death when it builds up in neurons as a result of the trauma of blocked blood flow associated with a stroke.
Tocotrienol taken orally influences production of this protein by elevating the activity of genes that make MRP1. This appears to occur at the microRNA level; a microRNA is a small segment of RNA that influences a gene's protein-building function.
These latest research findings in mice show that tocotrienol might be more potent than drugs targeting single mechanisms for preventing stroke damage
"Here, a natural nutritional product is simultaneously acting on multiple targets to help prevent stroke-induced brain damage. That is a gifted molecule", exclaimed Professor Sen who has studied the nutrient for more than a decade.
H.-A. Park, N. Kubicki, S. Gnyawali, Y. C. Chan, S. Roy, S. Khanna, C. K. Sen. Natural Vitamin E -Tocotrienol Protects Against Ischemic Stroke by Induction of Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein 1. Stroke, Published online before print June 30, 2011; DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.608547
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