Date of this Version
Molecules 2016, 21, 344; doi:10.3390/molecules21030344
Tocotrienols (T3s) are a subclass of unsaturated vitamin E that have been extensively studied for their anti-proliferative, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties in numerous cancer studies. Recently, T3s have received increasing attention due to their previously unrecognized property to attenuate obesity and its associated metabolic complications. In this review, we comprehensively evaluated the recent published scientific literature about the influence of T3s on obesity, with a particular emphasis on the signaling pathways involved. T3s have been demonstrated in animal models or human subjects to reduce fat mass, body weight, plasma concentrations of free fatty acid, triglycerides and cholesterol, as well as to improve glucose and insulin tolerance. Their mechanisms of action in adipose tissue mainly include (1) modulation of fat cell adipogenesis and differentiation; (2) modulation of energy sensing; (3) induction of apoptosis in preadipocytes and (4) modulation of inflammation. Studies have also been conducted to investigate the effects of T3s on other targets, e.g., the immune system, liver, muscle, pancreas and bone. Since δT3 and γT3 are regarded as the most active isomers among T3s, their clinical relevance to reduce obesity should be investigated in human trials.