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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cytochrome P450 omega-hydroxylase pathway of tocopherol catabolism. Novel mechanism of regulation of vitamin E status.

Postabsorptive elimination of the various forms of vitamin E appears to play a key role in regulation of tissue tocopherol concentrations, but mechanisms of tocopherol metabolism have not been elucidated. Here we describe a pathway involving cytochrome P450-mediated omega-hydroxylation of the tocopherol phytyl side chain followed by stepwise removal of two- or three-carbon moieties, ultimately yielding the 3'-carboxychromanol metabolite that is excreted in urine. All key intermediates of gamma-tocopherol metabolism via this pathway were identified in hepatocyte cultures using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. NADPH-dependent synthesis of the initial gamma- and alpha-tocopherol 13'-hydroxy and -carboxy metabolites was demonstrated in rat and human liver microsomes. Functional analysis of several recombinant human liver P450 enzymes revealed that tocopherol-omega-hydroxylase activity was associated only with CYP4F2, which also catalyzes omega-hydroxylation of leukotriene B(4) and arachidonic acid. Tocopherol-omega-hydroxylase exhibited similar binding affinities but markedly higher catalytic activities for gamma-tocopherol than alpha-tocopherol, suggesting a role for this pathway in the preferential physiological retention of alpha-tocopherol and elimination of gamma-tocopherol. Sesamin potently inhibited tocopherol-omega-hydroxylase activity exhibited by CYP4F2 and rat or human liver microsomes. Since dietary sesamin also results in elevated tocopherol levels in vivo, this pathway appears to represent a functionally significant means of regulating vitamin E status.[1]


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