Inflammatory disorders of the bowel and colon cancer are associated with elevated indices of oxidative stress. Analogous elevations in markers of oxidative stress and loss of cell-membrane integrity are also observed in the colons of rats deficient in vitamin E (D-α-tocopherol), the major lipid-soluble antioxidant in biological systems. The causal relationship between colon pathologies associated with oxidative stress and dietary deficiency in antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E is still uncertain. Investigation of potential mechanisms by which lack of dietary vitamin E may lead to clinically relevant pathological changes in colon tissue was conducted using gene expression profiling strategies on vitamin E-sufficient and -deficient rats. Morphological changes and increased indices of lipid peroxidation were linked to vitamin E deficiency. These changes in colon tissue are potentially important in disease pathogenesis of the colon linked with oxidative stress or other direct consequences of inadequate levels of vitamin E.

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