Effect of carotenoid supplemented formula on carotenoid bioaccumulation in tissues of infant rhesus macaques: A pilot study focused on lutein

Sookyoung Jeon, Martha Neuringer, Emily E. Johnson, Matthew J. Kuchan, Suzette L. Pereira, Elizabeth J. Johnson, John W. Erdman

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    12 Scopus citations


    Lutein is the predominant carotenoid in the developing primate brain and retina, and may have important functional roles. However, its bioaccumulation pattern during early development is not understood. In this pilot study, we investigated whether carotenoid supplementation of infant formula enhanced lutein tissue deposition in infant rhesus macaques. Monkeys were initially breastfed; from 1 to 3 months of age they were fed either a formula supplemented with lutein, zeaxanthin, β-carotene and lycopene, or a control formula with low levels of these carotenoids, for 4 months (n = 2/group). All samples were analyzed by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Final serum lutein in the supplemented group was 5 times higher than in the unsupplemented group. All brain regions examined showed a selective increase in lutein deposition in the supplemented infants. Lutein differentially accumulated across brain regions, with highest amounts in occipital cortex in both groups. β-carotene accumulated, but zeaxanthin and lycopene were undetectable in any brain region. Supplemented infants had higher lutein concentrations in peripheral retina but not in macular retina. Among adipose sites, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue exhibited the highest lutein level and was 3-fold higher in the supplemented infants. The supplemented formula enhanced carotenoid deposition in several other tissues. In rhesus infants, increased intake of carotenoids from formula enhanced their deposition in serum and numerous tissues and selectively increased lutein in multiple brain regions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number51
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 10 2017



    • Bioaccumulation
    • Brain
    • Carotenoids
    • Formula
    • Infants
    • Lutein
    • Retina
    • Rhesus macaques

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science

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