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

Authors: Rosanna W.S. Chung, Per Leanderson, Anna K. Lundberg, Lena Jonasson


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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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).

Conclusions: 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.

Source: Atherosclerosis; 2017, 262: 87