Vitamin E (VE) is one category of important fat-soluble vitamins for human normal growth, which consists of eight isomers known as α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocopherol and α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocotrienol and each of the isomers has the unique and potent physiological functions. The respective importance in biological and nutritional studies makes it greatly interesting and necessary to determine VE family. This review briefly introduces physiological functions of tocopherols and tocotrienols, and presents the progress of sample pretreatment and analysis of these compounds in pharmaceutical and other samples in the last decade, then makes a comparison in the aspects of sensitivity, selectivity and simplicity of the analytical methods. Due to their high efficiency, rapid speed, low cost and environmental impact, nano-LC and capillary electrophoresis including non-aqueous capillary electrophoresis (NACE), capillary electrochromatography (CEC) and microemulsion electrokinetic chromatography (MEEKC) have been playing an increasingly important role in the analysis of VE family, which have also been discussed in this review.
West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, No.17, Section 3, South Renmin Road, Chengdu 610041, China.