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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 747020, 9 pages
Review Article

Vitamin E as an Antiosteoporotic Agent via Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor Kappa-B Ligand Signaling Disruption: Current Evidence and Other Potential Research Areas

Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Received 10 May 2012; Accepted 26 June 2012

Academic Editor: Ahmad Nazrun Shuid

Copyright © 2012 Kok-Yong Chin and Soelaiman Ima-Nirwana. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Osteoporosis is a growing healthcare burden that affects the quality of life in the aging population. Vitamin E is a potential prophylactic agent that can impede the progression of osteoporosis. Various in vivo studies demonstrated the antiosteoporotic potential of vitamin E, but evidence on its molecular mechanism of action is limited. A few in vitro studies showed that various forms of vitamin E can affect the receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) signaling and their molecular targets, thus preventing the formation of osteoclasts in the early stage of osteoclastogenesis. Various studies have also shown that the effects of the different isoforms of vitamin E differ. The effects of single isoforms and combinations of isoforms on bone metabolism are also different. Vitamin E may affect bone metabolism by disruption of free radical-mediated RANKL signaling, by its oestrogen-like effects, by its effects on the molecular mechanism of bone formation, by the anti-inflammatory effects of its long-chain metabolites on bone cells, and by the inhibition of 3-hydroxyl-3-methyglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA). In conclusion, the vitamin E isoforms have enormous potential to be used as prophylactic and therapeutic agents in preventing osteoporosis, but further studies should be conducted to elucidate their mechanisms of action.