Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

John T. Landrum

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committe Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Konstantinos Kavallieratos

Third Advisor's Name

David Chatfield


carotenoids, lutein, s-cis conformer, dietary supplement.

Date of Defense



Lutein is a principal constituent of the human macular pigment. This study is composed of two projects. The first studies the conformational geometries of lutein and its potential adaptability in biological systems. The second is a study of the response of human subjects to lutein supplements.

Using semi-empirical parametric method 3 (PM3) and density functional theory with the B3LYP/6-31G* basis set, the relative energies of s-cis conformers of lutein were determined. All 512 s-cis conformers were calculated with PM3. A smaller, representative group was also studied using density functional theory. PM3 results were correlated systematically to B3LYP values and this enables the results to be calibrated. The relative energies of the conformers range from 1-30 kcal/mole, and many are dynamically accessible at normal temperatures.

Four commercial formulations containing lutein were studied. The serum and macular pigment (MP) responses of human subjects to these lutein supplements with doses of 9 or 20 mg/day were measured, relative to a placebo, over a six month period. In each instance, lutein levels in serum increased and correlated with MP increases. The results demonstrate that responses are significantly dependent upon formulation and that components other than lutein have an important influence serum response.