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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Macular pigment density is reduced in obese subjects.

PURPOSE: Because of the potential protective function of lutein ( L) and zeaxanthin ( Z) within the retina and lens, a better understanding of factors influencing tissue deposition is needed. The largest fractions of L and Z are stored in adipose tissue. Thus, higher body fat content and body mass index (BMI) may be expected to influence the quantities of L and Z in the retina (measured as macular pigment optical density, MPOD). METHODS: Six hundred eighty subjects were tested. Information on MPOD, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (n = 400, using bioelectric impedance), dietary intake (n = 280, using a food frequency questionnaire), and serum carotenoid content (n = 280, using reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography) was obtained. RESULTS: There was an inverse relationship between MPOD and BMI (n = 680, r = -0.12, P < 0.0008) and between MPOD and body fat percentage (n = 400, r = -0.12, P < 0.01). These relationships were largely driven by data from the subjects with higher BMI (more than 29, 21% less MP) and higher body fat percentage (more than 27%, 16% less MP). Dietary carotenoid intake and serum carotenoid levels were also lower in subjects with higher BMI (n = 280). CONCLUSIONS: Obese subjects tend to have lower retinal L and Z. This reduction may be due to decreased dietary intake of L and Z and/or competition between retina and adipose tissue for uptake of L and Z.[1]


  1. Macular pigment density is reduced in obese subjects. Hammond, B.R., Ciulla, T.A., Snodderly, D.M. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. (2002) [Pubmed]
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