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Bradley Henriksen, Gary Chan, Robert Hoffman, Mohsen Sharifzadeh, Igor Ermakov, Werner Gellermann, Xiaoming Sheng, Paul Bernstein; The Effects of Maternal Nutrition and Intrauterine Growth Restriction on Infant Carotenoid Status. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):3770. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Lutein and zeaxanthin are dietary carotenoids specifically concentrated in the human macula that may be important in infant macular and visual development. Infants affected by intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) may have low carotenoid levels. We evaluated the correlation of carotenoid levels between mothers and their infants at birth.
We conducted a prospective, controlled, clinical study comparing carotenoids in mothers, 30 term infants, and 10 IUGR infants. Skin carotenoids were measured with resonance Raman skin devices. Blood and breast milk carotenoids were examined via HPLC. Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was assessed on a subgroup of 14 infants using RetCam imaging.
Serum and breast milk carotenoids were lower in the IUGR mothers than controls (P<0.01). IUGR infant skin and serum carotenoids were not different from controls. Mother skin carotenoids correlate with infant skin carotenoids (R=0.48, P<0.01). Mother serum carotenoids correlate with infant levels(R=0.42, P=0.02). MPOD was measurable in all term infants (mean= 0.108). Infant serum zeaxanthin correlates with MPOD (R=0.68, P<0.01). Mother serum zeaxanthin correlates with infant MPOD (R=.59, P=0.03). Infant and maternal serum lutein did not significantly correlate with infant MPOD (P>0.05).
The depletion of carotenoids in IUGR mothers, but not IUGR infants, suggests a nutrient sparing mechanism. MPOD was measurable in term infants, contrasting with our previously reported lack of detectable MPOD in preterm infants. Infant MPOD correlates with infant and mother serum zeaxanthin, but not lutein, suggesting an important role for zeaxanthin in macular development. Finally, infant carotenoid status is dependent on maternal dietary intake, and serum zeaxanthin may be important for infant macular development in utero.
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