December 23, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga.Eating, exercise and other everyday activities can cause cell membranes to tear, exposing cells to potentially harmful outside forces. Researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University report that vitamin E can help repair tears in plasma membrane, thereby maintaining the membrane's protective effect.
According to the researchers, vitamin E aids repair in several ways. As an antioxidant, it helps eliminate destructive byproducts from the bodys use of oxygen that impede repair. And, because its lipid-soluble, vitamin E can insert itself into the membrane to prevent free radicals from attacking. It also can help keep phospholipids, a major membrane component, compliant so they can better repair after a tear.
Researchers mimicked the membrane tears that occur with exercise by using hydrogen peroxide to produce free radicals. They found that tears in skeletal muscle cells would not heal unless pretreated with vitamin E.
The research also showed that vitamin E treatment in an animal model of diabetes restored some membrane repair ability. Also, an analogue of the most biologically active form of vitamin E significantly reversed membrane repair deficits caused by high glucose and increased cell survival after tearing cells in culture.
The study was published in Nature Communications.
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