Relationships of carotenoid-related gene expression and serum cholesterol and lipoprotein levels to retina and brain lutein deposition in infant rhesus macaques following 6 months of breastfeeding or formula feeding

Sookyoung Jeon, Martha Neuringer, Matthew J. Kuchan, John W. Erdman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Scopus citations


    The purpose of this study was to investigate if the enhanced bioaccumulation of lutein in retina and brain of breastfed, compared to formula-fed, infant monkeys was associated with higher levels of serum total and HDL cholesterol, apolipoproteins, or mRNA/protein expression of carotenoid-related genes. Newborn rhesus macaques were either breastfed, fed a carotenoid-supplemented formula, or fed an unsupplemented formula for 6 months (n = 8, 8, 7). Real-time qPCR and western blotting were performed in two brain regions (occipital cortex and cerebellum) and two retina regions (macular and peripheral retina). Breastfed infants had higher serum total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, apoA-I, and apoB-100 levels than the combined formula-fed groups (P < 0.05). Breast milk or infant formulas did not alter expression of the nine genes (CD36, SCARB1, SCARB2, LDLR, STARD3, GSTP1, BCO1, BCO2, RPE65) examined except for SCARB2 in the retina and brain regions. In conclusion, dietary regimen did not impact the expression of carotenoid-related genes except for SCARB2. However, carotenoid-related genes were differentially expressed across brain and retina regions. Breastfed infants had higher serum total and HDL cholesterol, and apolipoproteins, suggesting that lipoprotein levels might be important for delivering lutein to tissues, especially the macular retina, during infancy.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)97-104
    Number of pages8
    JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 2018



    • Brain
    • Carotenoid-related genes
    • Lipoproteins
    • Lutein
    • Retina
    • Rhesus macaques

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biophysics
    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology

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