13C-lutein is differentially distributed in tissues of an adult female rhesus macaque following a single oral administration: a pilot study

Sookyoung Jeon, Qiyao Li, Stanislav S. Rubakhin, Jonathan V. Sweedler, Joshua W. Smith, Martha Neuringer, Matthew Kuchan, John W. Erdman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Despite the growing awareness regarding lutein's putative roles in eyes and brain, its pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution in primates have been poorly understood. We hypothesized that 13C-lutein will be differentially distributed into tissues of an adult rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) 3 days following a single oral dose. After a year of prefeeding a diet supplemented with unlabeled lutein (1 μmol/kg/d), a 19-year-old female was dosed with 1.92 mg of highly enriched 13C-lutein. Tissues of a nondosed, lutein-fed monkey were used as a reference for natural abundance of 13C-lutein. On the third day postdose, plasma and multiple tissues were collected. Lutein was quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography–photodiode array detector, and 13C-lutein tissue enrichment was determined by liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In the tissues of a reference monkey, 12C-lutein with natural abundance of 13C-lutein was detectable. In the dosed monkey, highly enriched 13C-lutein was observed in all analyzed tissues except for the macular and peripheral retina, with the highest concentrations in the liver followed by the adrenal gland and plasma. 13C-lutein accumulated differentially across 6 brain regions. In adipose depots, 13C-lutein was observed, with the highest concentrations in the axillary brown adipose tissues. In summary, we evaluated 13C-lutein tissue distribution in a nonhuman primate following a single dose of isotopically labeled lutein. These results show that tissue distribution 3 days following a dose of lutein varied substantially dependent on tissue type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-108
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition Research
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Biodistribution
  • Isotopic tracer
  • Lutein
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Rhesus macaque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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