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Structural aspects of the antioxidant activity of lutein in a model of photoreceptor membranes. Acta Biochim Pol 2012;59(1):119-24



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It was shown that in membranes containing raft domains, the macular xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin are not distributed uniformly, but are excluded from saturated raft domains and about ten times more concentrated in unsaturated bulk lipids. The selective accumulation of lutein and zeaxanthin in direct proximity to unsaturated lipids, which are especially susceptible to lipid peroxidation, could be very important as far as their antioxidant activity is concerned. Therefore, the protective role of lutein against lipid peroxidation was investigated in membranes made of raft-forming mixtures and in models of photoreceptor outer segment membranes and compared with their antioxidant activity in homogeneous membranes composed of unsaturated lipids. Lipid peroxidation was induced by photosensitized reactions using rose Bengal and monitored by an MDA-TBA test, an iodometric assay, and oxygen consumption (using EPR spectroscopy and the mHCTPO spin label as an oxygen probe). The results show that lutein protects unsaturated lipids more effectively in membranes made of raft-forming mixtures than in homogeneous membranes. This suggests that the selective accumulation of macular xanthophylls in the most vulnerable regions of photoreceptor membranes may play an important role in enhancing their antioxidant properties and ability to prevent age-related macular diseases (such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD)).

Author List

Wisniewska-Becker A, Nawrocki G, Duda M, Subczynski WK


Witold K. Subczynski PhD Professor in the Biophysics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Lipid Peroxidation
Macular Degeneration
Singlet Oxygen