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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jun;61(6). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600685. Epub 2017 Feb 27.

Host-related factors explaining interindividual variability of carotenoid bioavailability and tissue concentrations in humans.

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Luxembourg Institute of Health, Strassen, Luxembourg.
NORT, Aix-Marseille Université, INRA, INSERM, Marseille, France.
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.
Paprika Bioanalytics BT, Debrecen, Hungary.
MTA-DE Public Health Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Faculty of Public Health, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.
Human and Animal Physiology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Carotenoid dietary intake and their endogenous levels have been associated with a decreased risk of several chronic diseases. There are indications that carotenoid bioavailability depends, in addition to the food matrix, on host factors. These include diseases (e.g. colitis), life-style habits (e.g. smoking), gender and age, as well as genetic variations including single nucleotide polymorphisms that govern carotenoid metabolism. These are expected to explain interindividual differences that contribute to carotenoid uptake, distribution, metabolism and excretion, and therefore possibly also their association with disease risk. For instance, digestion enzymes fostering micellization (PNLIP, CES), expression of uptake/efflux transporters (SR-BI, CD36, NPC1L1), cleavage enzymes (BCO1/2), intracellular transporters (FABP2), secretion into chylomicrons (APOB, MTTP), carotenoid metabolism in the blood and liver (LPL, APO C/E, LDLR), and distribution to target tissues such as adipose tissue or macula (GSTP1, StARD3) depend on the activity of these proteins. In addition, human microbiota, e.g. via altering bile-acid concentrations, may play a role in carotenoid bioavailability. In order to comprehend individual, variable responses to these compounds, an improved knowledge on intra-/interindividual factors determining carotenoid bioavailability, including tissue distribution, is required. Here, we highlight the current knowledge on factors that may explain such intra-/interindividual differences.


Absorption; Biodistribution; Genetic polymorphisms; Intestine; Macula lutea

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