May 2005
Volume 46, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2005
Dietary Zeaxanthin or Lutein Improves Foveal Photo–protection From Blue Light in Xanthopyhll–free Monkeys
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • F.M. Barker
    Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, PA
  • M. Neuringer
    Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton, OR
  • E.J. Johnson
    Tufts University, Boston, MA
  • W. Schalch
    DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., Kaiseraugst, Switzerland
  • W. Koepcke
    University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany
  • D.M. Snodderly
    Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  F.M. Barker, DSM Nutritional Products Ltd C, P, R; M. Neuringer, DSM Nutritional Products Ltd F; E.J. Johnson, DSM Nutritional Products Ltd F; W. Schalch, DSM Nutritional Products Ltd E; W. Koepcke, DSM Nutritional Products Ltd C; D.M. Snodderly, DSM Nutritional Products Ltd F.
  • Footnotes
    Support  DSM Nutritional Products Ltd, Kaiseraugst, Switzerland
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2005, Vol.46, 1770. doi:
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      F.M. Barker, M. Neuringer, E.J. Johnson, W. Schalch, W. Koepcke, D.M. Snodderly; Dietary Zeaxanthin or Lutein Improves Foveal Photo–protection From Blue Light in Xanthopyhll–free Monkeys . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):1770.

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

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Abstract: : Purpose: Blue light photooxidative damage has been implicated in the etiology of age–related macular degeneration. This effect is potentially reduced within the fovea due to the presence of the xanthophylls zeaxanthin (Z) and lutein (L). The present study measured the protective effect of supplementation with Z and L against acute photochemical blue light exposure. Methods: Subjects were 8 rhesus monkeys with no lifelong intake of xanthophylls and no detectable macular yellow pigment, and 4 normal age–matched control animals fed stock diets. They received graded exposures (150 µm diameter) of 476 nm low–power laser energy within the fovea (0.5 mm (2.4o) eccentricity, just outside the peak macular pigment density) or within the parafovea (1.5 mm (7.2o) eccentricity). The xanthophyll–free animals were then supplemented with Z (OPTISHARPTM) or L in doses of 3.9 µmol/kg per day (equivalent to approximately 10–15 mg L or Z per animal and day) for 22–28 weeks and blue light exposures were repeated. Results: Foveae of control monkeys had significantly elevated photochemical damage thresholds compared to parafoveae (p=0.0050). In xanthophyll–free monkeys, thresholds in foveae and parafoveae were low and not significantly different (p=0.48); foveal thresholds in xanthophyll–free monkeys were lower than in control foveae (p=0.024) but similar to control parafoveae (p=0.55). After L or Z supplementation, foveal thresholds remained lower than in control animals (p=0.0375), but the sizes of supra–threshold lesions were significantly smaller than before supplementation (p=0.0001). Conclusions: Macular pigment in rhesus monkeys fed stock diets was associated with protection from blue light photochemical damage in the fovea compared with the parafovea, whereas monkeys lacking macular pigment showed no such foveal protection. Supplementation of xanthophyll–free monkeys with Z or L led to partial but statistically significant restoration of the foveal blue ligth protection.

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

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