Carotenoid Functions

August 10/Cleveland, Ohio/Life Science Weekly -- Scientists discuss in "Colors with Functions: Elucidating the Biochemical and Molecular Basis of Carotenoid Metabolism" new findings in nutrition. According to recent research from the U.S., "Carotenoids affect a rich variety of physiological functions in nature and are beneficial for human health, serving as antioxidants in lipophilic environments and blue light filters in the macula of human retina. These dietary compounds also serve as precursors of a unique set of apo-carotenoid cleavage products, including retinoids."

"Although knowledge about retinoid biology has tremendously increased, the metabolism of retinoids' parent precursors remains poorly understood. Recently, molecular players in carotenoid metabolism have been identified and biochemically characterized. Moreover, mutations in their corresponding genes impair carotenoid metabolism and induce various pathologies in animal models. Polymorphisms in these genes alter carotenoid and retinoid homeostasis in humans as well," wrote Lintig J. von and colleagues, Case Western Reserve University, Department of Pharmacology.

The researchers concluded, "This review summarizes our current knowledge about the molecular/biochemical basis of carotenoid metabolism and particularly the physiological role of carotenoids in retinoid-dependent physiological processes."

von and colleagues published their study in Annual Review of Nutrition ("Colors with Functions: Elucidating the Biochemical and Molecular Basis of Carotenoid Metabolism." Annual Review of Nutrition, 2010;30():35-56).

For additional information, contact J. von Lintig, School of Medicine, Dept. of Pharmacology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4965.

From the August 11, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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