The synthesis of a-Tocohexaenol, a new fluorescent analogue of a-Tocopherol
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Since its discovery in 1922, vitamin E has been widely investigated for its role as a powerful, chain-breaking antioxidant that is required for human health. However, some basic issues still remain unclear, such as the mechanism and dynamics of the intracellular trafficking of a-tocopherol. To better understand tocopherol's biological activity at the cellular level, fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy have been found to be valuable tools. This thesis reports the synthesis of a new fluorescent analogue of a-tocopherol, atocohexaenol, an intrinsically fluorescent analogue of a-tocopherol. Different methodologies of preparation have been attempted and a strategy using a preformed chromanol head plus ClO and Cs portion of the polyene side chain finally provided us the desired a-tocohexaenol. a-Tocohexaenol shows a strong fluorescence in both ethanol and hexanes with maximum Aab = 368 nm and maximum /...em = 521 nm. This compound is stable for a couple of weeks in ethanol or hexane solution if stored at 0 °C and protected form light. It decomposes slowly at room temperature and light will accelerate its decomposition (within 5 hours). Thus, a-Tocohexaenol may be a useful fluorescent probe to study the biochemistry and cell biology of vitamin E.