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Vitamin E: good for the heart, bad for the bones?

Vitamin E is commonly taken as a dietary supplement because it has been shown to have cardioprotective effects. However, its effects on bone metabolism are unknown. A new study in mice shows that α-tocopherol, the main isoform of vitamin E, stimulates bone osteoclast fusion independently of its antioxidant activity, resulting in increased bone resorption (pages 589–594).

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Figure 1: Using mouse genetic models, Fujita et al.11 show that the major vitamin E isoform, α-tocopherol, functions in the later differentiation stage of osteoclast (OC) formation to promote the fusion of osteoclast precursors.


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Correspondence to G David Roodman.

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Roodman, G. Vitamin E: good for the heart, bad for the bones?. Nat Med 18, 491–492 (2012).

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