Food and Behaviour Research

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Gamma tocopherol-enriched supplement reduces sputum eosinophilia and endotoxin-induced sputum neutrophilia in volunteers with asthma

Burbank A, Duran CG, Yinghao P, Burns P, Jones S, Jiang Q, Yang C, Jenkins S, Wells H, Alexis N, Kesimer M, Bennett W, Zhou H, DB. Peden, Hernandez ML (2017) J Allergy Clin Immunol July 2017;  DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.06.029 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here



We and others have shown that the gamma tocopherol (γT) isoform of vitamin E has multiple anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions and that γT supplementation reduces eosinophilic and endotoxin (LPS)-induced neutrophilic airway inflammation in animal models and healthy human volunteers.


We sought to determine whether γT supplementation reduces eosinophilic airway inflammation and acute neutrophilic response to inhaled LPS challenge in volunteers with asthma.


Participants with mild asthma were enrolled in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled crossover study to assess the effect of 1200 mg of γT daily for 14 days on sputum eosinophils, mucins, and cytokines. We also assessed the effect on acute inflammatory response to inhaled LPS challenge following γT treatment, focusing on changes in sputum neutrophilia, mucins, and cytokines. Mucociliary clearance was measured using gamma scintigraphy.


Fifteen subjects with mild asthma completed both arms of the study. Compared with placebo, γT notably reduced pre-LPS challenge sputum eosinophils and mucins, including mucin 5AC and reduced LPS-induced airway neutrophil recruitment 6 and 24 hours after challenge. Mucociliary clearance was slowed 4 hours postchallenge in the placebo group but not in the γT treatment group. Total sputum mucins (but not mucin 5AC) were reduced at 24 hours postchallenge during γT treatment compared with placebo.


When compared with placebo, γT supplementation for 14 days reduced inflammatory features of asthma, including sputum eosinophils and mucins, as well as acute airway response to inhaled LPS challenge. Larger scale clinical trials are needed to assess the efficacy of γT supplements as a complementary or steroid-sparing treatment for asthma.


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