TitleExpanding role of vitamin E in protection against metabolic dysregulation: Insights gained from model systems, especially the developing nervous system of zebrafish embryos.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHead B, Traber MG
JournalFree Radic Biol Med
Date Published2021 Nov 20
KeywordsAnimals, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Female, Humans, Lipid Peroxidation, Models, Animal, Nervous System, Pregnancy, Vitamin E, Zebrafish

This review discusses why the embryo requires vitamin E (VitE) and shows that its lack causes metabolic dysregulation and impacts morphological changes at very early stages in development, which occur prior to when a woman knows she is pregnant. VitE halts the chain reactions of lipid peroxidation (LPO). Metabolomic analyses indicate that thiols become depleted in E- embryos because LPO generates products that require compensation using limited amino acids and methyl donors that are also developmentally relevant. Thus, VitE protects metabolic networks and the integrated gene expression networks that control development. VitE is critical especially for neurodevelopment, which is dependent on trafficking by the α-tocopherol transfer protein (TTPa). VitE-deficient (E-) zebrafish embryos initially appear normal, but by 12 and 24 h post-fertilization (hpf) E- embryos are developmentally abnormal with expression of pax2a and sox10 mis-localized in the midbrain-hindbrain boundary, neural crest cells and throughout the spinal neurons. These patterning defects indicate cells that are especially in need of VitE-protection. They precede obvious morphological abnormalities (cranial-facial malformation, pericardial edema, yolksac edema, skewed body-axis) and impaired behavioral responses to locomotor activity tests. The TTPA gene (ttpa) is expressed at the leading edges of the brain ventricle border. Ttpa knockdown using morpholinos is 100% lethal by 24 hpf, while E- embryo brains are often over- or under-inflated at 24 hpf. Further, E- embryos prior to 24 hpf have increased expression of genes involved in glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway, and decreased expression of genes involved in anabolic pathways and transcription. Combined data from both gene expression and the metabolome in E- embryos at 24 hpf suggest that the activity of the mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway is decreased, which may impact both metabolism and neurodevelopment. Further evaluation of VitE deficiency in neurogenesis and its subsequent impact on learning and behavior is needed.

Alternate JournalFree Radic Biol Med
PubMed ID34555455