Effects of Individual Tocotrienol Isomers on Bone Cells in a 3D Cell Culture System

Osteoporosis is an emerging degenerative bone disorder threatening the ageing population worldwide. Palm vitamin E has been proven effective in preventing bone loss, but the interaction between vitamin E isomers of varying efficacy may hamper its therapeutic potential. This study aimed to determine the most biologically active palm vitamin E isomers on bone using an innovative 3D bone cell culture model. Palm vitamin E mixture containing 22.0% α-tocopherol, 26.7% α-tocotrienol, 4.0% β-tocotrienol, 31.3% γ-tocotrienol and 15.6% δ-tocotrienol (60 mg/kg/day) was first tested on adrenalectomized male rats given dexamethasone (120 μg/kg/day), an in vivo model of secondary osteoporosis, for two months. It was effective in preventing bone loss in these rats. Human osteoblasts per se or co-cultures of human osteoblasts and osteoclast-like cells were incubated with each individual isomer (α-tocopherol, α, β, γ and δ-tocotrienol; 100 nM) using an in vitro 3D culture model for 28 days. It was observed that γ- and δ-tocotrienols showed the best results in improving the trabecular structure and biomechanical strength of the bone scaffold. As a conclusion, palm vitamin E possesses anti-osteoporotic effects and γ- and δ-tocotrienol may be the most active isomers acting on bone.

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