Research Article| Volume 262, P87-93, July 2017

Lutein exerts anti-inflammatory effects in patients with coronary artery disease

  • Rosanna W.S. Chung
    Corresponding author. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden.
    Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden
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  • Per Leanderson
    Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
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  • Anna K. Lundberg
    Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden
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  • Lena Jonasson
    Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden
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      • Lutein correlates inversely IL-6 in plasma of stable coronary artery disease patients.
      • Lutein is taken up by blood mononuclear cells ex vivo.
      • Lutein decreases production and secretion of inflammatory cytokines ex vivo.
      • Lutein has the potential to resolve inflammation in coronary artery disease patients.


      Background and aims

      Many coronary artery disease (CAD) patients exhibit chronic low-grade inflammation. Carotenoids are anti-oxidants with potential anti-inflammatory properties. Here, we first assessed relationships between interleukin (IL)-6 and individual carotenoids in plasma from CAD patients. Based on the results, we proceeded to assess anti-inflammatory effects of one carotenoid, lutein, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from CAD patients.


      Lutein + zeaxanthin (isomers with lutein being dominant), β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, α- and β-carotene and IL-6 were measured in plasma from 134 patients with stable angina (SA) and 59 patients with acute coronary syndrome. In 42 patients, plasma measurements were also performed 3 months after coronary intervention. PBMCs from SA patients were pre-treated with lutein (1, 5 and 25 μM) for 24 h followed by 24 h incubation ± lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Cell pellets were collected for IL-6, IL-1β and TNF mRNA and intracellular lutein. Cytokine secretion was measured in cell media.


      Only lutein + zeaxanthin were inversely correlated with IL-6 in SA patients at baseline (r = −0.366, p < 0.001) and follow-up (r = −0.546, p < 0.001). Ex vivo, lutein was taken up by PBMCs from SA patients in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Pre-treatment with lutein dose-dependently lowered LPS-induced secretion of IL-6, IL-1β (p < 0.01) and TNF (p < 0.05), and also reduced IL-6, IL-1β and TNF mRNA expression (p < 0.05).


      Clinical findings highlighted the inverse association between lutein and IL-6 in CAD patients. Anti-inflammatory effects of lutein in PBMCs from CAD patients were consolidated in ex vivo experiments. Taken together, these results show that lutein has the potential to play a role in resolution of chronic inflammation in CAD patients.


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