Synergistic inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 expression by vitamin E and aspirin

Aida Abate, Guang Yang, Phyllis A. Dennery, Stefanie Oberle, Henning Schröder

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69 Scopus citations


The use of aspirin in rheumatoid arthritis is limited since inhibition of the pro-inflammatory enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 occurs only at higher aspirin doses that are often associated with side effects such as gastric toxicity. Using a macrophage cell line (J774.1A), the present study explores possible synergistic effects of aspirin and vitamin E on the expression and activity of cyclooxygenase-2. Lipopolysaccharide-induced prostaglandin E2 formation was significantly reduced by aspirin (1-100 μM) or vitamin E (100-300 μM). When combined with vitamin E, aspirin-dependent inhibition of prostaglandin E2 formation was increased from 59% to 95% of control. Likewise, lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxygenase-2 protein and mRNA expression were virtually abolished by the combined treatment of aspirin and vitamin E, whereas the two agents alone were only modestly effective. Vitamin C did not mimic the actions of vitamin E under these conditions, suggesting that redox-independent mechanisms underlie the action of vitamin E. In agreement with this, vitamin E and aspirin were without effect on lipopolysaccharide-induced translocation of the redox-sensitive transcription factor NF-κ B. Our results show that co-administration of vitamin E renders cyclooxygenase-2 more sensitive to inhibition by aspirin by as yet unknown mechanisms. Thus, anti-inflammatory therapy might be successful with lower aspirin doses when combined with vitamin E, thereby possibly avoiding the side effects of the usually required high dose aspirin treatment. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1142
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Schr 298/8-2).


  • Arthritis
  • Aspirin
  • Cyclooxygenase-2
  • Drug synergism
  • Free radicals
  • Gene expression
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages
  • NF-κ B
  • Prostaglandins
  • Vitamin E


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