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Exp Eye Res. 2002 Mar;74(3):371-81.

Macular pigment and lutein supplementation in choroideremia.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Choroideremia is an incurable X-linked retinal degeneration caused by mutations in the gene encoding Rab escort protein-1. A group of clinically defined and genotyped patients were studied to determine: (1) the degree of rod and cone dysfunction and structural abnormality in the central retina and the level of macular pigment; and (2) the response of macular pigment and foveal vision to a 6 month trial of supplementation with oral lutein (at 20 mg per day). Rod and cone-mediated function was measured with dark-adapted static perimetry; in vivo retinal structure was determined with optical coherence tomography; and macular pigment optical density was measured with heterochromatic flicker photometry. In this cohort of patients (ages 15-65 years), both rod- and cone-mediated central function declined with age as did central retinal thickness. Macular pigment levels did not differ between patients and male control subjects. Supplementation of oral lutein in a subset of patients led to an increase in serum lutein and macular pigment levels; absolute foveal sensitivity did not change. It is concluded that macular pigment density can be augmented by oral intake of lutein in patients with choroideremia. There was no short-term change in the central vision of the patients on the supplement, but long-term influences of lutein supplementation on disease natural history warrant further study.

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