Macular xanthophylls, lipoprotein-related genes, and age-related macular degeneration

Euna Koo, Martha Neuringer, John Paul SanGiovanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Plant-based macular xanthophylls (MXs; lutein and zeaxanthin) and the lutein metabolite meso-zeaxanthin are the major constituents of macular pigment, a compound concentrated in retinal areas that are responsible for fine-feature visual sensation. There is an unmet need to examine the genetics of factors influencing regulatory mechanisms and metabolic fates of these 3 MXs because they are linked to processes implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In this work we provide an overview of evidence supporting a molecular basis for AMD-MX associations as they may relate to DNA sequence variation in AMD-and lipoproteinrelated genes. We recognize a number of emerging research opportunities, barriers, knowledge gaps, and tools offering promise for meaningful investigation and inference in the field. Overviews on AMD-and high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-related genes encoding receptors, transporters, and enzymes affecting or affected by MXs are followed with information on localization of products from these genes to retinal cell types manifesting AMD-related pathophysiology. Evidence on the relation of each gene or gene product with retinal MX response to nutrient intake is discussed. This information is followed by a review of results from mechanistic studies testing gene-disease relations. We then present findings on relations of AMD with DNA sequence variants in MX-associated genes. Our conclusion is that AMD-associated DNA variants that influence the actions and metabolic fates of HDL system constituents should be examined further for concomitant influence on MX absorption, retinal tissue responses to MX intake, and the capacity to modify MX-associated factors and processes implicated in AMD pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336S-346S
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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