Effect of Alpha Tocopherol on Adriamycin Altered Erythrocytes

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Masters of Science in Secondary Education - Chemistry Emphasis



Major Advisor

Jack L. Dalton, M.S.


Robert W. Ellis, Ph.D.


Adriamycin is an antitumor drug that binds DNA by intercalation between base pairs. It is rapidly cleared from the plasma, which suggests tissue binding. Adriamycin is myelosuppressive and has been shown to produce a profound anemia in persons receiving this chemo-therapeutic drug. Electron microscopy has demonstrated altered erythrocyte membranes in persons receiving adriamycin. The electron microscopy and clinical observation of the anemia suggests that there may be other mechanisms involved with inducing the anemia, such as a red blood cell (RBC) survival problem.

Chemically, adriamycin has oxidative properties which may alter RBC membranes. Alpha tocopherol is an antioxidative vitamin E. Oral consumption of tocopherol was given as a dietary supplement to donors. The vitamin E supplemented donor blood was used to observe whether there was a protective nature to RBC membranes subjected to adriamycin in vitro. The mean corpuscular volume (MCV) values and electron micrographs were measured for comparison of before vitamin E supplement and after dietary supplement. The MCV values were decreased in the tocopherol donor blood, but the electron micrographs did not show any conclusive change.

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