The presence of carotenoids in the vitreous body, retina, lens, retinal pigment epithelium together with choroid (hereinafter RPE), and ciliary body and iris together with choroidal stroma (hereinafter CBI) was studied throughout the second trimester of prenatal development of the human eye. It has been found that the vitreous body, retina, and RPE contain lutein and its oxidized forms. Zeaxanthin was not found in the tissues studied. The presence of lutein in the vitreous body is transient and no longer detected after 28 weeks of gestation. Lutein was not detected in the lens and CBI, but its oxidized forms were found. The presence of carotenoids in different tissues of the eye in the course of normal eye development and the antioxidant role of carotenoids are discussed.Graphical abstract
HPLC of chloroform extracts from different tissues of human fetal eyes.