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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 5381540, 8 pages
Review Article

The Multiple Facets of Lutein: A Call for Further Investigation in the Perinatal Period

1Pediatric Unit, Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
2UOC Clinical Pathology, AOUS, Siena, Italy

Received 29 June 2016; Accepted 11 August 2016

Academic Editor: Renata Szymanska

Copyright © 2016 Serafina Perrone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lutein may have important antioxidant actions in free-radical-mediated diseases, in addition to its well-known antioxidant and cytoprotective effects on macula and photoreceptors. The peculiar perinatal susceptibility to oxidative stress indicates that prophylactic use of antioxidants as lutein could help to prevent or at least to reduce oxidative stress related diseases in newborns. Since lutein is not synthesized by humans, the intake primarily depends on diet or supplementation. Newborns receive lutein exclusively from breast milk. Lutein supplementation in term newborns has been reported to reduce oxidative stress and increase antioxidant capacities in the first days of life. Innovative frontiers concerning lutein supplementation are orientated toward cardiometabolic health improvement and cognitive benefits. The safety of lutein as an antioxidant agent has been confirmed in experimental and clinical studies, but its routine use is not recommended in perinatal period. This review summarizes what is known about the role of lutein as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in animal model and humans.