Low vitamin E content in plasma of patients with alcoholic liver disease, hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease.
J Hepatol. 1994 Jan;20(1):41-6. PMID:8201221
The RRR-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) content in plasma from 46 patients with liver diseases and 23 healthy controls was determined by high performance liquid chromatography and electrochemical detection. Patients were divided into three groups: alcoholic liver diseases (n = 17; group A), hemochromatosis (n = 17; group B) and Wilson's disease (n = 12; group C). Lipid-standardized alpha-tocopherol levels were determined to neutralize differences due to hyperlipemia. The ratio of serum vitamin E to serum lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids) was highest in healthy controls and in patients in group A with cirrhosis and normal transaminases and bilirubin. Patients in group A with acute or chronic ethanol intoxication and high bilirubin levels had a 37% lower lipid-standardized vitamin E level than controls. Patients in group B with hemochromatosis, showing high serum iron (> 180 micrograms/dl), a low free iron binding capacity (< 8 mumol/l) and high ferritin-levels (< 450 micrograms/l), had a 34% lower vitamin E/lipid ratio than healthy controls. No significant lowering of the vitamin E/lipid ratio was observed in the other patients in group B. A significant decrease (37%) in the vitamin E/lipid ratio was only detectable in patients with Wilson's disease (group C) showing high free serum copper (> 10 micrograms/dl). The data support a role for free radicals in the pathogenesis of active liver diseases.