Date of Award

Winter 2001

Project Type


Program or Major

Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Joanne Curran Celantano


This research assessed the relationships of dietary, sex, and biochemical factors to macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and macular pigment (MP) distribution in 108 adults. Dietary assessment tools were evaluated for their ability to predict MP status. Macular pigment was assessed at four foveal sites and one parafoveal site. An average composite macular pigment value (CMPV) was calculated based on the MPOD results. Group mean MPOD results from most to least central retinal locations, were 0.43 (SE +/- 0.017), 0.36 (SE +/- 0.013), 0.28 (SE +/- 0.012), and 0.13 (SE +/- 0.008), respectively. The CMTV was 0.26 (SE +/- 0.0 11). Those with blue iris color were found to have higher MPOD at the 1.00° (p = 0.008), and 2.00° (p = 0.01) sites and CWV results (p = 0.02) compared to those with hazel eyes.

Significantly lower MPOD were evident at the 1.00° (p = 0.02) and 2.00° (p = 0.001) sites and for CMTV (p = 0.02) when BMI ≥ 27 compared to BMI < 27. Higher MPOD were associated with higher intakes of fruits and vegetables using average consumption estimations derived from a seven item fruit and vegetable screening tool, while a 24-hour carotenoid guided food recall did not predict MPOD. Multiple significant linear relationships were detected for dietary intakes of the carotenoids lutein and beta-cryptoxanthin based on FFQ results Additional nutrients with multiple significant associations were vitamins A and C, and iron.

Mean serum lutein and lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations for the sample were significantly associated with MPOD at the 0.167°, 0.50°, 1.00° sites, and CMPV results. Cholesterol, LDL-C, and HDL-C were not associated with MPOD while triglycerides were significantly associated with MPOD at the 0.167° (p = 0.03) and 1.00° (p = 0.02) sites. Fasting serum lipoproteins of total cholesterol and triglycerides concentrations were significantly associated with some serum carotenoid concentrations, while LDL-C and HDL-C were not significantly associated with serum carotenoid concentrations.