Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: Dr Morris and colleagues1 and Dr Engelhart and colleagues2 found
an inverse relationship between intake of vitamin E from food, but not from
supplements, with risk of Alzheimer disease (AD).3 I
would like to suggest a mechanism for this finding. The predominant dietary
form of vitamin E, γ-tocopherol, but not the form found in supplements, α-tocopherol,
has been demonstrated to inhibit cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) production of prostaglandin
E2 in macrophages and epithelial cells.4 Long-term
use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and COX-2 inhibition
may protect against AD.5 The same mechanism
could explain the benefit of foods high in vitamin E.
Varner AE. Antioxidants and Risk of Alzheimer Disease. JAMA. 2002;288(18):2265–2266. doi:10.1001/jama.288.18.2265