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A methylated phenol that has vitamin E activity, and is present in wheat-germ oil, milk, lettuce, egg yolk, and other vegetable oils


Tocopherols are fat-soluble alcohols and they perform vitamin E activities within the body. Vitamin E occurs in many forms and tocopherols are one of them. Tocopherols occur in α (alpha), β (beta), γ (gamma) and δ (delta) forms. The difference is determined through the number and position of methyl groups on the chromanol ring.1 α-Tocopherol (E number: E307) is obtained from vegetable oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil whereas the γ-tocopherol (E number: E308) is found in soybean and corn oil. All tocopherols have a chromane ring with a hydroxyl group that donates a hydrogen atom for reducing free radicals. This structure of tocopherols (or essentially all vitamin E vitamers) makes them a good antioxidant. Tocopherols form tocopheryl radicals when they react with the free radicals. Furthermore, tocopherols also have a hydrophobic side chain that allows them to incorporate into the cell membrane. Apart from serving as antioxidants, they are also capable of regulating enzymic activities and gene expressions. For instance, α-tocopherol is found to be a regulator of protein kinase C, which is involved in smooth muscle growth activity. It is also found to downregulate the expression of CD36 scavenger receptor gene.2

Abbreviation / Acronym: TCP

See also:

1 Tocopherol. Retrieved from [1]
2 Devaraj S, Hugou I, Jialal I; Hugou; Jialal (2001). "-Tocopherol decreases CD36 expression in human monocyte-derived macrophages". J Lipid Res 42 (4): 521–527.