Vitamin E (α-tocopherol; VE) is known to be regenerated from VE radicals by vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid; VC) in vitro. However, their in vivo interaction in various tissues is still unclear. Therefore, we alternatively examined the in vivo interaction of VC and VE by measurement of their concentrations in various tissues of senescence marker protein-30 (SMP30) knockout (KO) mice as a VC synthesis deficiency model. Male SMP30-KO mice were divided into four groups (VC+/VE+, VC+/VE-, VC-/VE+ and VC-/VE-), fed diets with or without 500 mg/kg VE and given water with or without 1·5 g/l VC ad libitum. Then, VC and VE concentrations in the plasma and various tissues were determined. Further, gene expression levels of transporters associated with VC and VE, such as α-tocopherol transfer protein (α-TTP) and sodium-dependent vitamin C transporters (SVCTs), were examined. These results showed that the VE levels in the VC-depleted (VC-/VE+) group were significantly lower than those in the VC+/VE+ group in the liver and heart; the VC levels in the VE-depleted (VC+/VE-) group were significantly lower than those in the VC+/VE+ group in the kidneys. The α-TTP gene expression in the liver and kidneys was decreased by VC and/or VE depletion. Moreover, SVCT1 gene expression in the liver was decreased by both VC and VE depletion. In conclusion, these results indicate that VC spares VE mainly in the liver and heart and that VE spares VC in the kidneys of SMP30-KO mice. Thus, interaction between VC and VE is likely to be tissue specific.
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