A article printed in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism (September 1991;34(9):1205) discussed the anti-inflammatory role of vitamin E. The article cites a study where vitamin E was used in a placebo in a study examining the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In that study, the group receiving the placebo also enjoyed a decrease in pain and inflammation; c-reactive protein (a substance found in the blood that indicates the presence of inflammation) was reduced by 1/3 in the placebo group. Another small study where osteoarthritis patients were given either 600 mg/day of vitamin E or a placebo found that a significant portion of the group receiving the supplement experienced improvement in symptoms.
A recent study done on mice appeared in the journal Experimental Physiology ()2008 Dec;93(12):1263-72). The mice were injected with a substance from bacteria that produces inflammation (E. coli lipopolysaccharide). Three days prior to the injection they were divided into two groups, with one group receiving a vitamin E injection and the other receiving a placebo. Chemical markers indicating inflammation were measured after the injection (specifically cytokines, interleukin-1-beta and interleukin-6). The cytokine levels were much lower in the mice that received the vitamin E.