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Quantification of Lutein + Zeaxanthin Presence in Human Placenta and Correlations with Blood Levels and Maternal Dietary Intake

Thoene, Melissa, Anderson-Berry, Ann, Van Ormer, Matthew, Furtado, Jeremy, Soliman, Ghada A., Goldner, Whitney, Hanson, Corrine
Nutrients 2019 v.11 no.1
alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, blood sampling, blood serum, cross-sectional studies, eyes, food frequency questionnaires, food intake, lutein, lycopene, mothers, placenta, pregnancy, umbilical cord, zeaxanthin
Lutein + zeaxanthin (L + Z) are carotenoids recognized in eye health, but less is known about their status during pregnancy. While quantified in maternal and umbilical cord blood, they have never been analyzed in placenta. The purpose of this study is to quantify combined L + Z concentrations in human placenta and correlate with levels in maternal dietary intake, maternal serum, and umbilical cord blood. The proportions of combined L + Z were compared within diet, placenta, maternal serum, and umbilical cord blood among additional carotenoids (lycopene, &beta;-cryptoxanthin, &alpha;-carotene, and &beta;-carotene). This Institutional Review Boardapproved cross-sectional study enrolled 82 mother-infant pairs. Placenta, maternal serum, and umbilical cord blood samples were analyzed for carotenoids concentrations. Mothers completed a food frequency questionnaire and demographic/birth outcome data were collected. L + Z were present in placenta, median 0.105 micrograms/gram (mcg/g) and were significantly correlated with maternal serum (r = 0.57; p < 0.001), umbilical cord blood levels (r = 0.49; p = 0.001), but not dietary intake (p = 0.110). L + Z were the most prevalent in placenta (49.1%) umbilical cord blood (37.0%), but not maternal serum (18.6%) or dietary intake (19.4%). Rate of transfer was 16.0%, the highest of all carotenoids. Conclusively, L + Z were identified as the two most prevalent in placenta. Results highlight unique roles L + Z may play during pregnancy.