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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIETARY CAROTENOIDS, RETINOIDS, AND BIOACTIVATES ON HEALTHY AGING

Location: Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

Title: Measurement of macular pigment optical density in a healthy chinese population sample

Authors
item Yu, Jie -
item Johnson, Elizabeth -
item Shang, Fu -
item Lim, Apiradee -
item Zhou, Haiying -
item Cui, Lei -
item Xu, Jun -
item Snellingen, Torkel -
item Liu, Xipu -
item Wang, Ningli -
item Liu, Ningpu -

Submitted to: Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2012
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Citation: Yu, J., Johnson, E.J., Shang, F., Lim, A., Zhou, H., Cui, L., Xu, J., Snellingen, T., Liu, X., Wang, N., Liu, N. 2012. Measurement of macular pigment optical density in a healthy chinese population sample. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 53(4):2106-2111.

Interpretive Summary: The plant pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, commonly found in green leafy vegetables selectively accumulate in the macula, a part of the human retina responsible for central vision. In the macula, lutein and zeaxanthin are referred to as macular pigment (MP). MP may protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Current information on MP levels has been largely from studies on Caucasian populations. The purpose of this study was to assess MP levels and factors related to these amounts in a Chinese population. Participants received a standard eye examination and only subjects who were confirmed not to have any eye diseases except mild age-related cataract were included in the study. Demographic, lifestyle data and general health status were recorded by questionnaire. A total of 281 healthy Chinese individuals with no family relationship including 96 males and 185 females with ages ranging from 17 to 85 years, participated in the study. A trend of age-related decline in the level of MP was observed, with females tending to have relatively lower levels of MP than males. No significant association of macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was observed with body mass index (an indicator of body fat) and smoking status. In conclusion, macular pigment levels tend to decline with age in this healthy Chinese population sample. Females may have lower levels of MP than males.

Technical Abstract: Macular pigment may protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by its capability to absorb blue light and scavenge free radicals. Current information on human macular pigment density has been largely from studies on Caucasians populations. The purpose of this study was to assess macular pigment density and its determinant factors in a Chinese population sample. Methods: Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was measured in a healthy Chinese population using a heterochromatic flicker photometry (HFP). Participants received a standard ophthalmic examination and only subjects who were confirmed not to have any eye diseases except mild age-related cataract were included in the study. Demographic and lifestyle data and general health status were recorded by questionnaire. Results: A total of 281 unrelated healthy Chinese individuals including 96 males and 185 females with age ranging from 17 to 85 years, participated in the study. The mean and standard deviation of MPOD levels were 0.56 +/- 0.19, 0.49 +/- 0.18, 0.36 +/- 0.15, and 0.19 +/- 0.12, respectively, at 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, and 1.75 degrees of eccentricity points. A trend of age-related decline in MPOD was observed at 0.25 degrees (p=0.014), 0.5 degrees (0.68) and 1.0 degrees (p=0.38) eccentricities. Females tended to have relatively lower levels of MPOD than males at 0.25 (p=0.21), 0.5 (p=0.025) and 1.0 (p=0.16) degrees. No statistically significant association of MPOD was observed with body mass index and smoking status. Conclusions: Macular pigment density measured by HFP tends to decline with aging in this healthy Chinese population sample. Females may have lower levels of MPOD than males.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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