Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Lutein and β-Carotene in Lung Tissues from Subjects with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Emphysema


Vitamin A (VA) and its active metabolites play an essential role in lung airway function. Patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a lower serum retinol concentration, and improvement of their 1-second Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1) is achieved with VA supplementation. In order to test our hypothesis that the VA signaling pathway is compromised in COPD, we obtained 20 lung samples from COPD patients differing in the degree of emphysema as judged by their FEV% values. All were smokers or were exposed to secondhand smoke. Levels of VA (retinol/retinyl ester), tocopherols and carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene) in these samples were determined using HPLC. Additional analytes beside VA were included for their known roles as antioxidants and modulators of VA-action. VA levels (retinol/retinyl ester) decreased significantly with the increase in severity of emphysema. Among other analytes, α-tocopherol levels fell by 25.8% in the severe emphysema group in comparison to the mild emphysema group, and lutein levels similarly decreased in severe compared to moderate emphysema groups. However, beta-carotene levels remained unchanged. Thus there is a significant linear correlation between lung VA-levels and the severity of emphysema. There was also a significant reduction in the levels of α-, δ-tocopherol and lutein in the severe emphysema group of COPD patients who either smoked or were exposed to smoke.

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Schäffer, M. , Roy, S. , Mukherjee, S. and Das, S. (2013) Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Lutein and β-Carotene in Lung Tissues from Subjects with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Emphysema. Open Journal of Respiratory Diseases, 3, 44-51. doi: 10.4236/ojrd.2013.32008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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