Vitamin E protects brain after stroke, says Indian American


Washington : Blocking the function of a brain enzyme with a specific kind of vitamin E can prevent nerve cells from dying after a stroke, says an Indian American scientist.

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In mouse brain cells, scientists found tocotrienol, a natural form of vitamin E, that stopped the enzyme from releasing fatty acids that eventually kill neurons (brain cells).

Ohio State University (OSU) researchers have been studying how tocotrienol protects the brain in animal and cell models for a decade, and intend to pursue tests of its potential to both prevent and treat strokes in humans.

“Our research suggests that the different forms of natural vitamin E have distinct functions,” said Chandan Sen, OSU professor of surgery and senior study author.

“The relatively poorly studied tocotrienol form of natural vitamin E targets specific pathways to protect against neural cell death and rescues the brain after stroke injury,”

“Here, we identify a novel target for tocotrienol that explains how neural cells are protected,” added Sen, who did his B.Sc in physiology (honours), chemistry and zoology in 1987 and MS in physiology from Calcutta University in 1990.

Vitamin E occurs naturally in eight different forms. Its best-known form belongs to a variety called tocopherols.

The form of vitamin E in this study, tocotrienol or TCT, is not abundant in the American diet but is available as a nutritional supplement. It is a common component of a typical Southeast Asian diet, said an OSU release.

Sen’s lab discovered tocotrienol vitamin E’s ability to protect the brain 10 years ago. But this study offers the most specific details about how that protection works, he said.

The study appeared online and is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Neurochemistry.