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      Zeaxanthin and Lutein: Photoprotectors, Anti-Inflammatories, and Brain Food


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          This review compares and contrasts the role of carotenoids across the taxa of life—with a focus on the xanthophyll zeaxanthin (and its structural isomer lutein) in plants and humans. Xanthophylls’ multiple protective roles are summarized, with attention to the similarities and differences in the roles of zeaxanthin and lutein in plants versus animals, as well as the role of meso-zeaxanthin in humans. Detail is provided on the unique control of zeaxanthin function in photosynthesis, that results in its limited availability in leafy vegetables and the human diet. The question of an optimal dietary antioxidant supply is evaluated in the context of the dual roles of both oxidants and antioxidants, in all vital functions of living organisms, and the profound impact of individual and environmental context.

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          Reactive Oxygen Species in Health and Disease

          During the past decades, it became obvious that reactive oxygen species (ROS) exert a multitude of biological effects covering a wide spectrum that ranges from physiological regulatory functions to damaging alterations participating in the pathogenesis of increasing number of diseases. This review summarizes the key roles played by the ROS in both health and disease. ROS are metabolic products arising from various cells; two cellular organelles are intimately involved in their production and metabolism, namely, the endoplasmic reticulum and the mitochondria. Updates on research that tremendously aided in confirming the fundamental roles of both organelles in redox regulation will be discussed as well. Although not comprehensive, this review will provide brief perspective on some of the current research conducted in this area for better understanding of the ROS actions in various conditions of health and disease.
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            Using chlorophyll fluorescence to assess the fraction of absorbed light allocated to thermal dissipation of excess excitation

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              Zeaxanthin has enhanced antioxidant capacity with respect to all other xanthophylls in Arabidopsis leaves and functions independent of binding to PSII antennae.

              The ch1 mutant of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) lacks chlorophyll (Chl) b. Leaves of this mutant are devoid of photosystem II (PSII) Chl-protein antenna complexes and have a very low capacity of nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) of Chl fluorescence. Lhcb5 was the only PSII antenna protein that accumulated to a significant level in ch1 mutant leaves, but the apoprotein did not assemble in vivo with Chls to form a functional antenna. The abundance of Lhca proteins was also reduced to approximately 20% of the wild-type level. ch1 was crossed with various xanthophyll mutants to analyze the antioxidant activity of carotenoids unbound to PSII antenna. Suppression of zeaxanthin by crossing ch1 with npq1 resulted in oxidative stress in high light, while removing other xanthophylls or the PSII protein PsbS had no such effect. The tocopherol-deficient ch1 vte1 double mutant was as sensitive to high light as ch1 npq1, and the triple mutant ch1 npq1 vte1 exhibited an extreme sensitivity to photooxidative stress, indicating that zeaxanthin and tocopherols have cumulative effects. Conversely, constitutive accumulation of zeaxanthin in the ch1 npq2 double mutant led to an increased phototolerance relative to ch1. Comparison of ch1 npq2 with another zeaxanthin-accumulating mutant (ch1 lut2) that lacks lutein suggests that protection of polyunsaturated lipids by zeaxanthin is enhanced when lutein is also present. During photooxidative stress, alpha-tocopherol noticeably decreased in ch1 npq1 and increased in ch1 npq2 relative to ch1, suggesting protection of vitamin E by high zeaxanthin levels. Our results indicate that the antioxidant activity of zeaxanthin, distinct from NPQ, can occur in the absence of PSII light-harvesting complexes. The capacity of zeaxanthin to protect thylakoid membrane lipids is comparable to that of vitamin E but noticeably higher than that of all other xanthophylls of Arabidopsis leaves.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                08 August 2020
                August 2020
                : 25
                : 16
                : 3607
                Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0334, USA; marina.lopezpozo@ 123456colorado.edu (M.L.-P.); jared.stewart@ 123456colorado.edu (J.J.S.); william.adams@ 123456colorado.edu (W.W.A.III)
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                [* ]Correspondence: barbara.demmig-adams@ 123456colorado.edu ; Tel.: +1-303-492-5541
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                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 23 July 2020
                : 07 August 2020

                chronic inflammation,redox regulation,signaling,macular degeneration,meso-zeaxanthin,photosynthesis,radiation,thermal dissipation,vision,xanthophyll cycle


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