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Jan van de Kraats, Martijn J. Kanis, Stijn W. Genders, Dirk van Norren; Lutein and Zeaxanthin Measured Separately in the Living Human Retina with Fundus Reflectometry. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(12):5568-5573. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-1939.
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purpose. To separately measure the optical densities of lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) in the human retina in vivo. L and Z are the basic constituents of the macular pigment (MP).
methods. Spectral fundus reflectance was measured in 23 subjects (group 1) at 0°, 1°, 2°, 4°, and 8° eccentricity with a modified macular pigment reflectometer. A model generated the optical densities of L (LOD) and Z (ZOD), using their slightly different absorption spectra. Three other subjects (group 2) took 20 mg/d zeaxanthin for 6 months; they were measured approximately monthly for 18 months.
results. Mean LOD for group 1 at the central fovea was 0.200 ± 0.061 (range, 0.085–0.305), mean ZOD was 0.494 ± 0.169 (range, 0.169–0.806), resulting in a mean Z fraction [ZOD/(LOD + ZOD)] of 0.71. ZOD dropped faster toward the periphery than LOD, measuring 0.044 and 0.010 (Z fraction 0.18) at 8°, respectively. Zeaxanthin supplementation in group 2 caused a significant increase in ZOD, and no or minor changes in LOD. ZOD further increased over a 10-month period after supplementation in all subjects.
conclusions. LOD and ZOD had different spatial profiles that, apart from scaling factors, showed similarity to in vitro literature data. Supplementation with Z caused LOD to decrease and ZOD to increase. These results strongly suggest that the optical densities of L and Z can be assessed in vivo by fundus reflectometry, opening new ways of investigating the putative protective roles of L and Z in retinal disease.
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