Lutein and zeaxanthin as protectors of lipid membranes against oxidative damage: the structural aspects.


Sujak A, Gabrielska J, Grudzinski W, Borc R, Mazurek P, Gruszecki WI.




Arch Biochem Biophys


Two main xanthophyll pigments are present in the membranes of macula lutea of the vision apparatus of primates, including humans: lutein and zeaxanthin. Protection against oxidative damage of the lipid matrix and screening against excess radiation are the most likely physiological functions of these xanthophyll pigments in macular membranes. A protective effect of lutein and zeaxanthin against oxidative damage of egg yolk lecithin liposomal membranes induced by exposure to UV radiation and incubation with 2, 2'-azobis(2-methypropionamidine)dihydrochloride, a water-soluble peroxidation initiator, was studied. Both lutein and zeaxanthin were found to protect lipid membranes against free radical attack with almost the same efficacy. The UV-induced lipid oxidation was also slowed down by lutein and zeaxanthin to a very similar rate in the initial stage of the experiments (5-15 min illumination) but zeaxanthin appeared to be a better photoprotector during the prolonged UV exposure. The decrease in time of a protective efficacy of lutein was attributed to the photooxidation of the carotenoid itself. Both lutein and zeaxanthin were found to slightly modify mechanical properties of the liposomes in a very similar fashion as concluded on the basis of H(1) NMR and diffractometric measurements of pure egg yolk membranes and membranes pigmented with the xanthophylls. Linear dichroism analysis of the mean orientation of the dipole transition moment of the xanthophylls incorporated to the lipid multibilayers revealed essentially different orientation of zeaxanthin and lutein in the membranes. Zeaxanthin was found to adopt roughly vertical orientation with respect to the plane of the membrane. The relatively large orientation angle between the transition dipole and the axis normal to the plane of the membrane found in the case of lutein (67 degrees in the case of 2 mol% lutein in EYPC membranes) was interpreted as a representation of the existence of two orthogonally oriented pools of lutein, one following the orientation of zeaxanthin and the second parallel with respect to the plane of the membrane. The differences in the protective efficacy of lutein and zeaxanthin in lipid membranes were attributed to a different organization of zeaxanthin-lipid and lutein-lipid membranes.