European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 915–921 | Cite as

Serum carotenoids and vitamins in relation to markers of endothelial function and inflammation

  • Wendy van Herpen-broekmans
  • Ineke Klöpping-ketelaars
  • Bots Michiel
  • Kluft Cornelis
  • Princen Hans
  • F.J. Hendriks
  • Lilian Tijburg
  • Geert van Poppel
  • Alwine Kardinaal


Background: Endothelial cell dysfunction may be related to an increase in cellular oxidative stress. Carotenoids and vitamins could have an antioxidant-mediated tempering influence on endothelial function and inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis. Methods: We measured serum carotenoids, α$-tocopherol and Vitamin C concentrations in 379 subjects sampled from the general population. High-sensitive C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen (Fbg) and leukocytes were measured as markers of inflammation. Furthermore, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD; n=165) were measured as markers of endothelial function. Relationships between serum carotenoids and vitamins and markers of endothelial function and inflammation were analysed after adjustment for confounding. Results: In the total study group, lutein and lycopene were inversely related to sICAM-1 with regression-coefficients of −0.38 $±$ 0.19 (p=0.04) and −0.16 $±$ 0.08 (p=0.04) per 1 μmol/l, respectively. $β$-Carotene was inverse related to leukocytes (−0.23 $±$ 0.07; p=0.007) and CRP (−1.09 ± 0.30; p=0.0003) per 1 $μ$mol/l. Vitamin C was inverse related to CRP (−0.01 $±$ 0.005; p=0.04) per 1 $μ$mol/l, whereas $α$-tocopherol was positively related to CRP (0.03 $±$ 0.01; p=0.02) per 1 $μ$/l. Zeaxanthin was inversely related to FMD (31.2 $±$ 15.3; p=0.04) per 1 $μ$mol/l. Conclusion: The inverse relations between carotenoids, Vitamin C and sICAM-1, CRP and leukocytes may help to explain the possible protective effect of carotenoids and Vitamin C on atherosclerosis through an influence on inflammatory processes and endothelial function.

Carotenoids Endothelial function Humans Inflammation Vitamins 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy van Herpen-broekmans
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ineke Klöpping-ketelaars
    • 1
  • Bots Michiel
    • 4
  • Kluft Cornelis
    • 5
  • Princen Hans
    • 5
  • F.J. Hendriks
    • 1
  • Lilian Tijburg
    • 6
  • Geert van Poppel
    • 6
  • Alwine Kardinaal
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.TNO Nutrition and Food ResearchWageningen University and Research CenterWageningen
  2. 2.Wageningen University and Research CenterWageningen
  3. 3.Center for Micronutrient ResearchWageningen
  4. 4.Julius Center for General Practice and Patient Oriented ResearchUniversity Medical Center UtrechtUtrecht
  5. 5.Gaubius Laboratory TNO-PGLeiden
  6. 6.Unilever Health Institute, Unilever R&DThe Netherlands

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