Background: Serum lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) positively correlate with macular pigment optical density (MPOD), hence the latter is a valuable indirect tool for measuring L and Z content in the macula. L and Z have been attributed antioxidant capacity and protection from certain retinal diseases but their uptake within the eye is thought to depend on genetic, age and environmental factors. In particular gene variants within beta-carotene monooxygenase (BCMO1) are thought to modulate MPOD in the macula.Objectives: To determine the effect of BCMO1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs11645428, rs6420424 and rs6464851 on macular pigment optical density (MPOD) in a cohort of young healthy participants of Caucasian origin with normal ocular health.Design: In this cohort study, MPOD was assessed in 46 healthy participants (22 male and 24 female) with a mean age of 24 ± 4.0 years (range 19-33). The three SNPs, rs11645428, rs6420424, rs6564851 that have established associations with MPOD were determined using MassEXTEND (hME) Sequenom assay. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed on groups segregated into homozygous and heterozygous BCMO1 genotypes. Correlations between body mass index (BMI), iris colour, gender, central retinal thickness (CRT), diet and MPOD were investigated.Results: MPOD did not significantly vary with BCMO1 rs11645428 (F2,41 = 0.700, p = 0.503), rs6420424 (F2,41 = 0.210, p = 0.801) nor rs6464851 homozygous or heterozygous genotypes (F2,41 = 0,13, p = 0.88), in this young healthy cohort. The combination of these three SNPs into triple genotypes based on plasma conversion efficiency did not affect MPOD (F2,41 = 0.07, p = 0.9). There was a significant negative correlation with MPOD and central retinal thickness (r = - 0.39, p = 0.01) but no significant correlation between BMI, iris colour, gender and MPOD. Conclusion: Our results indicate that macular pigment deposition within the central retina is not dependent on BCMO1 gene varian
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