Vitamin E and C supplementation prevents decrease of eicosapentaenoic acid in mononuclear cells in chronic hepatitis C patients during combination therapy of interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin.
Nutrition. 2006 Feb;22(2):114-22. PMID: 16459223
OBJECTIVE: We investigated the effects of vitamin E and C supplementation on the fatty acid composition of mononuclear cells and on the clinical observations in patients who had chronic hepatitis C and received interferon-alpha-2b (IFN-alpha-2b) and ribavirin combination therapy. METHODS: Patients were randomly allocated to receive daily 500 mg of vitamin E and 750 mg of vitamin C (vitamin group, n = 14) or no supplement (non-vitamin group, n = 16) in addition to IFN-alpha-2b and ribavirin therapy. The fatty acid composition of mononuclear cell phospholipids was analyzed before and at 2, 4, and 8 wk after treatment. RESULTS: After vitamin supplementation, plasma and red blood cell alpha-tocopherol and plasma ascorbic acid levels increased in the vitamin group. Serum levels of alanine aminotransferase decreased significantly after 2 wk of treatment in both groups. At the start of treatment, a lower level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and a higher level of the molar ratio of arachidonic acid to EPA in mononuclear cells were observed in the present patients compared with healthy volunteers, and a significant correlation between the molar ratio and serum alanine aminotransferase level was found. The EPA level of mononuclear cells was maintained in the vitamin group during treatment, whereas a significant decrease was observed in the non-vitamin group at 4 and 8 wk after treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Antioxidant vitamin supplementation during IFN-alpha-2b and ribavirin therapy prevented a decrease in EPA of mononuclear cell phospholipids. If a further decrease in the ratio of arachidonic acid to EPA can be achieved by using oral EPA supplementation, the efficacy of IFN-alpha-2b and ribavirin therapy may be improved.