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Genetic factors involved in the bioavailability of tomato carotenoids

Desmarchelier, Charles*; Landrier, Jean-François*; Borel, Patrick*

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: November 2018 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 - p 489–497
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000515
MICRONUTRIENTS: Edited by Henry C. Lukaski and Véronique Coxam

Purpose of review To provide an update on the genetic factors recently associated with the interindividual variability of tomato carotenoid bioavailability.

Recent findings Several clinical studies have demonstrated that the main carotenoids found in tomatoes (lycopene, phytoene, phytofluene, β-carotene, lutein) all display relatively large interindividual variabilities of their bioavailability, with coefficients of variations more than 70%. The bioavailability of the parent molecules, and the blood/tissue appearance of their metabolites, is modulated by numerous proteins, involved in intestinal absorption and metabolism, blood lipoprotein transport or tissue uptake. Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been associated with the interindividual variability of lycopene, lutein and β-carotene bioavailability, with six genes consistently shared between the three carotenoids, and in particular one SNP in ELOVL fatty acid elongase 2. The effects of the genetic variants taken separately are relatively low, that is each variant is usually associated with only a few percentage of the variability but multivariate analyses suggest that the additive effect of several genetic variants can explain a significant fraction of tomato carotenoid bioavailability.

Summary Additional studies are needed to improve our knowledge of the genetic determinants of tomato carotenoid bioavailability but progress in this field could one day allow nutritionists to provide more personalized dietary recommendations.

C2VN, Aix Marseille Univ, INRA, INSERM, Marseille, France

Correspondence to Charles Desmarchelier, UMR 1260 INRA/1263 INSERM/Université d’Aix-Marseille, Centre CardioVasculaire et Nutrition (C2VN), Faculté de Médecine, 27, Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille Cedex 05, France. Tel: +33 4 91 32 42 82; e-mail:

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