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Tos TJM Berendschot, Yuan Tian, Ian Murray, Maria Makridaki, Rob LP van der Veen, Aize Kijlstra; Lutein supplementation leads to a decreased level of circulating complement factors. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):4124.
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Lutein is selectively taken up by the primate retina and plays an important role as a filter for harmful blue light and as an antioxidant. Recent studies have shown that lutein has systemic anti-inflammatory properties. Whether lutein affects activation of the complement system has not yet been addressed and was the purpose of the study described here.
Eighty-two subjects with signs of early macular degeneration were randomly assigned to receive either a 10 mg lutein supplement or a placebo during one year. EDTA blood samples were collected at 0, 4, 8 and 12 months. Complement Factor D (CFD), a rate limiting component of the alternative pathway of complement activation and the complement activation products C5a and C3d were determined in the plasma samples by ELISA.
A significant 0.12 μg/ml monthly decrease in plasma CFD concentration was observed in the lutein group (p<0.001), resulting in a 61% decrease from 2.33 μg/ml at baseline to 0.91 μg/ml at 12 months. The C5a concentration showed a significant 0.061 ng/ml monthly decrease in the lutein group (p<0.001) resulting in a 35% decrease from 2.07 ng/ml at baseline to 1.58 ng/ml at 12 months. The C3d concentration showed a significant 0.24 μg/ml monthly decrease in the lutein group (p=0.001) that gave rise to a 9% decrease from 15.9 μg/ml at baseline to 14.6 μg/ml at 12 months. No significant changes were observed in the placebo group.
Lutein supplementation markedly decreases circulating levels of the complement factors CFD, C5a and C3d levels, offering a simple method to control the inflammatory pathway of the innate immune system.
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