Low Xanthophylls, Retinol, Lycopene, and Tocopherols in Grey and White Matter of Brains with Alzheimer’s Disease
Background: Oxidative stress contributes to pathogenesis and progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Higher levels of the dietary antioxidants— carotenoids and tocopherols— are associated with better cognitive functions and lower risk for AD, and lower levels of multiple carotenoids are found in serum and plasma of patients with AD. Although brains donated by individuals with mild cognitive impairment had significantly lower levels of lutein and beta-carotene, previous investigators found no significant difference in carotenoid levels of brains with AD and cognitively normal brains.
Objective: This study tested the hypothesis that micronutrients are significantly lower in donor brains with AD than in healthy elderly brains.
Methods: Samples of donor brains with confirmed AD or verified health were dissected into grey and white matter, extracted with organic solvents and analyzed by HPLC.
Results: AD brains had significantly lower levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, anhydrolutein, retinol, lycopene, and alpha-tocopherol, and significantly increased levels of XMiAD, an unidentified xanthophyll metabolite. No meso-zeaxanthin was detected. The overlapping protective roles of xanthophylls, carotenes, α- and γ-tocopherol are discussed.
Conclusion: Brains with AD had substantially lower concentrations of some, but not all, xanthophylls, carotenes, and tocopherols, and several-fold higher concentrations of an unidentified xanthophyll metabolite increased in AD (XMiAD).