Analysis of multiple metabolites of tocopherols and tocotrienols in mice and humans

Yang Zhao, Mao Jung Lee, Connie Cheung, Ji Hyeung Ju, Yu Kuo Chen, Ba Liu, Long Qin Hu, Chung S. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Tocopherols and tocotrienols, collectively known as vitamin E, are essential antioxidant nutrients. The biological fates and metabolite profiles of the different forms are not clearly understood. The objective of this study is to simultaneously analyze the metabolites of different tocopherols and tocotrienols in mouse and human samples. Using HPLC/electrochemical detection and mass spectrometry, 18 tocopherol-derived and 24 tocotrienol-derived side-chain degradation metabolites were identified in fecal samples. Short-chain degradation metabolites, in particular γ- and Δ-carboxyethyl hydroxychromans (CEHCs) and carboxymethylbutyl hydroxychromans (CMBHCs) were detected in urine, serum, and liver samples, with tocopherols additionally detected in serum and liver samples. The metabolite profiles of tocotrienols and tocopherols were similar, but new tocotrienol metabolites with double bonds were identified. This is the first comprehensive report describing simultaneous analysis of different side-chain metabolites of tocopherols and tocotrienols in mice and humans. Urinary metabolites may serve as useful biomarkers for the nutritional assessment of vitamin E.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4844-4852
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 28 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


  • HPLC
  • MS
  • Metabolites
  • Tocopherols
  • Tocotrienols

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