Environmental and Nutritional Determinants of Macular Pigment in a Mexican Population

Marina Green-Gomez, Rachel Moran, James Stringham, Cesar Hernández-Alcaraz, Kenny Mendoza-Herrera, J Jans Fromow-Guerra, Alfonso Prado-Cabrero, John Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: The carotenoids lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z), and meso-zeaxanthin deposit at the macula as macular pigment (MP) and provide visual benefits and protection against macular diseases. The present study investigated MP, its nutritional and environmental determinants, and its constituent carotenoids in serum from a Mexican sample, in healthy participants and with metabolic diseases. Additionally, we compared these variables with an Irish sample.

METHODS: MP was measured in 215 subjects from a rural community in Mexico with dual-wavelength autofluorescence imaging reported as MP optical volume (MPOV). Dietary intake and serum concentrations of L and Z were evaluated.

RESULTS: The mean MPOV was 8429 (95% confidence interval, 8060-8797); range. 1171-15,976. The mean L and Z serum concentrations were 0.25 ± 0.15 µmol/L and 0.09 ± 0.04 µmol/L, respectively. The MPOV was positively correlated with L and Z serum concentrations (r = 0.347; P < 0.001 and r = 0.311; P < 0.001, respectively), but not with L + Z dietary estimates. Subjects with daily sunlight exposure of more than 50% were found to have significantly higher MPOV than those with less than 50% (P = 0.005). MPOV and serum concentrations of L and Z were significantly higher in the Mexican sample compared with the Irish sample, but this difference was not reflected in dietary analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: These new data from a Mexican sample provide evidence of the multifactorial interactions and environmental determinants of MP such as sunlight exposure and dietary patterns. These findings will be essential for future studies in Mexico for eye health, visual function, and ocular pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2021


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carotenoids/metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration/diagnosis
  • Macular Pigment/metabolism
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Population
  • Vision, Ocular
  • Young Adult


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