alexa Location of macular xanthophylls in the most vulnerable regions of photoreceptor outer-segment membranes


Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology

Author(s): Subczynski WK, Wisniewska A, Widomska J

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Lutein and zeaxanthin are two dietary carotenoids that compose the macular pigment of the primate retina. Another carotenoid, meso-zeaxanthin, is formed from lutein in the retina. A membrane location is one possible site where these dipolar, terminally dihydroxylated carotenoids, named macular xanthophylls, are accumulated in the nerve fibers and photoreceptor outer segments. Macular xanthophylls are oriented perpendicular to the membrane surface, which ensures their high solubility, stability, and significant effects on membrane properties. It was recently shown that they are selectively accumulated in membrane domains that contain unsaturated phospholipids, and thus are located in the most vulnerable regions of the membrane. This location is ideal if they are to act as lipid antioxidants, which is the most accepted mechanism through which lutein and zeaxanthin protect the retina from age-related macular degeneration. In this mini-review, we examine published data on carotenoid–membrane interactions and present our hypothesis that the specific orientation and location of macular xanthophylls maximize their protective action in membranes of the eye retina.

This article was published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology

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