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Front. Neurol. | doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00148

Dietary Vitamin E as a protective factor for Parkinson’s Disease: clinical and experimental evidence

  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina dei Sistemi, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy
  • 2Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy
  • 3Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy

Effective disease-modifying treatments are an urgent need for Parkinson’s disease (PD). A putative successful strategy is to counteract oxidative stress, not only with synthetic compounds, but also with natural agents or dietary choices. Vitamin E, in particular, is a powerful antioxidant, commonly found in vegetables and other components of the diet. In this work, we performed a questionnaire based case-control study on 100 PD patients and 100 healthy controls. The analysis showed that a higher dietary intake of Vitamin E was inversely associated with PD occurrence independently from age and gender (OR = 1.022; 95% CI = 0.999 – 1.045; p<0.05), though unrelated to clinical severity. Then, in order to provide a mechanistic explanation for such observation, we tested the effects of Vitamin E and other alimentary antioxidants in vitro, by utilizing the homozygous PTEN-induced kinase 1 knockout (PINK1−/−) mouse model of PD. PINK1−/− mice exhibit peculiar alterations of synaptic plasticity at corticostriatal synapses, consisting in the loss of both long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), in the absence of overt neurodegeneration. Chronic administration of Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol and the water-soluble analogue trolox) fully restored corticostriatal synaptic plasticity in PINK1−/− mice, suggestive of a specific protective action. Vitamin E might indeed compensate PINK1 haploinsufficiency and mitochondrial impairment, reverting some central steps of the pathogenic process. Altogether, both clinical and experimental findings suggest that Vitamin E could be a potential, useful agent for PD patients. These data, although preliminary, may encourage future confirmatory trials.

Keywords: Parkinsion's disease (PD), Vitamin - E, Antio×idants, Neuroprotection, Protective factor, Diet, PINK 1, synaptic plasiticty

Received: 06 Nov 2018; Accepted: 05 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Giovanni Albani, Istituto Auxologico Italiano (IRCCS), Italy

Reviewed by:

Graziella Madeo, National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States
Laura Avanzino, Università di Genova, Italy  

Copyright: © 2019 Schirinzi, Martella, Imbriani, Di Lazzaro, Franco, Colona, Alwardat, Sinibaldi Salimei, Mercuri, Pierantozzi and Pisani. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Antonio Pisani, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Department of Systems Medicine, Roma, 00133, Italy, pisani@uniroma2.it