May 2008
Volume 49, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2008
Macular Pigment and Foveal Characteristics of Primates
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • D. M. Snodderly
    Human Ecology/ Nutritional Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
  • M. M. Sandstrom
    Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  D.M. Snodderly, None; M.M. Sandstrom, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  Institutional funds
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2008, Vol.49, 4966. doi:
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      D. M. Snodderly, M. M. Sandstrom; Macular Pigment and Foveal Characteristics of Primates. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4966. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : To describe the macular pigment density profile of different primate species.

Methods: : Retinal whole mounts from Macaca mulatta, Macaca fascicularis, Saimiri sciureus, and Homo sapiens were prepared and the retinal pigment epithelium was removed so that light could pass through the tissue. The whole mounts were scanned at two wavelengths with a scanning microdensitometer to measure the macular pigment density profile.

Results: : For most cases, two broad classes of profiles were found. One profile, unimodal with a peak in the fovea, was more prominent in M. mulatta and also occurred in Homo sapiens. The other profile, trimodal with a maximum at the center of the fovea, was the dominant form in S. sciureus and M. fascicularis, and also occurred in Homo sapiens. These variations in the macular pigment density profile have been described in vivo in humans and it has been suggested that they are related to risk for developing age-related macular degeneration.

Conclusions: : Macular pigment profiles vary among primate species. Different species of nonhuman primates appear to span the range of the human macular pigment distribution. We suggest that the variations in macular pigment density reflect differences in foveal anatomy that can be confirmed by refined in vivo imaging methods.

Keywords: macular pigment • carotenoids/carotenoid binding proteins • retina 

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