Neuroplasticity is an “umbrella term” referring to the complex, multifaceted physiological processes that mediate the ongoing structural and functional modifications occurring, at various time- and size-scales, in the ever-changing immature and adult brain, and that represent the basis for fundamental neurocognitive behavioral functions; in addition, maladaptive neuroplasticity plays a role in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric dysfunctions. Experiential cues and several endogenous and exogenous factors can regulate neuroplasticity; among these, vitamin E, and in particular α-tocopherol (α-T), the isoform with highest bioactivity, exerts potent effects on many plasticity-related events in both the physiological and pathological brain. In this review, the role of vitamin E/α-T in regulating diverse aspects of neuroplasticity is analyzed and discussed, focusing on the hippocampus, a brain structure that remains highly plastic throughout the lifespan and is involved in cognitive functions. Vitamin E-mediated influences on hippocampal synaptic plasticity and related cognitive behavior, on post-natal development and adult hippocampal neurogenesis, as well as on cellular and molecular disruptions in kainate-induced temporal seizures are described. Besides underscoring the relevance of its antioxidant properties, non-antioxidant functions of vitamin E/α-T, mainly involving regulation of cell signaling molecules and their target proteins, have been highlighted to help interpret the possible mechanisms underlying the effects on neuroplasticity.
α-tocopherol and hippocampal neural plasticity in physiological and pathological conditions / Ambrogini, P.; Betti, M.; Galati, C.; Di Palma, M.; Lattanzi, D.; Savelli, D.; Galli, F.; Cuppini, R.; Minelli, A.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES. - ISSN 1661-6596. - ELETTRONICO. - 17:(2016), p. 2107. [10.3390/ijms17122107]