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Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes




Lipid bilayer, Lipid rafts, Small-angle neutron scattering, Vitamin E, α -Tocopherol, γ -Tocopherol


© 2020 Elsevier B.V. The antioxidant vitamin E is a commonly used vitamin supplement. Although the multi-billion dollar vitamin and nutritional supplement industry encourages the use of vitamin E, there is very little evidence supporting its actual health benefits. Moreover, vitamin E is now marketed as a lipid raft destabilizing anti-cancer agent, in addition to its antioxidant behaviour. Here, we studied the influence of vitamin E and some of its vitamers on membrane raft stability using phase separating unilamellar lipid vesicles in conjunction with small-angle scattering techniques and fluorescence microscopy. We find that lipid phase behaviour remains unperturbed well beyond physiological concentrations of vitamin E (up to a mole fraction of 0.10). Our results are consistent with a proposed line active role of vitamin E at the domain boundary. We discuss the implications of these findings as they pertain to lipid raft modification in native membranes, and propose a new hypothesis for the antioxidant mechanism of vitamin E.