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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2010 Dec 1;504(1):56-60. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Aug 1.

Studies on the singlet oxygen scavenging mechanism of human macular pigment.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Moran Eye Center, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.


It is thought that direct quenching of singlet oxygen and scavenging free radicals by macular pigment carotenoids is a major mechanism for their beneficial effects against light-induced oxidative stress. Corresponding data from human tissue remains unavailable, however. In the studies reported here, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy was used to measure light-induced singlet oxygen generation in post-mortem human macula and retinal pigment epithelium/choroid (RPE/choroid). Under white-light illumination, production of singlet oxygen was detected in RPE/choroid but not in macular tissue, and we show that exogenously added macular carotenoids can quench RPE/choroid singlet oxygen. When the singlet oxygen quenching ability of the macular carotenoids was investigated in solution, it was shown that a mixture of meso-zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein in a ratio of 1:1:1 can quench more singlet oxygen than the individual carotenoids at the same total concentration.

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