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J C Nielsen, M I Naash, R E Anderson; The regional distribution of vitamins E and C in mature and premature human retinas.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1988;29(1):22-26.
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Vitamin E is used to ameliorate retinopathy of prematurity, but little is known about baseline vitamin E levels in retinas of premature infants or the effect of vitamin E supplementation on these levels. Vitamin E and C levels were measured in mature retinas (1 month to 73 years) and in retinas of premature infants (22 to 33 weeks of gestation). The infants fell into two groups: (1) those who survived less than 12 hr and received no vitamin E, and (2) those who survived greater than 4 days and received vitamin E supplementation. Premature infants are born with 5 to 12 percent the vitamin E levels found in mature retinas. Vitamin E levels in vascular and avascular retina of premature infants increased with gestation. Infants born greater than 27 weeks gestation and surviving at least 4 days with vitamin E supplementation demonstrated markedly elevated vitamin E levels in vascular and avascular retina when compared to supplemented infants less than 27 weeks gestation. Premature infants possessed 35-50% higher levels of retinal vitamin C than those found in mature retinas. These data demonstrate that premature infants are born with relatively low levels of retinal vitamin E, particularly in the avascular region, but contain an abundance of retinal vitamin C. These data further suggest that vitamin E supplementation results in a rapid increase in retinal vitamin E levels, particularly in infants greater than 27 weeks gestational age.
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