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Absorption of Vitamin A and Carotenoids by the Enterocyte: Focus on Transport Proteins

1
INRA, UMR1260, Nutrition, Obesity and Risk of Thrombosis, Marseille F-13385, France
2
INSERM, UMR1062, Marseille F-13385, France
3
Aix-Marseille University, Marseille F-13385, France 
Nutrients 2013, 5(9), 3563-3581; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5093563
Received: 24 June 2013 / Revised: 19 August 2013 / Accepted: 26 August 2013 / Published: 12 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin A and Carotenoids)
Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in most developing countries, especially in children and pregnant women. It is thus a priority in health policy to improve preformed vitamin A and/or provitamin A carotenoid status in these individuals. A more accurate understanding of the molecular mechanisms of intestinal vitamin A absorption is a key step in this direction. It was long thought that β-carotene (the main provitamin A carotenoid in human diet), and thus all carotenoids, were absorbed by a passive diffusion process, and that preformed vitamin A (retinol) absorption occurred via an unidentified energy-dependent transporter. The discovery of proteins able to facilitate carotenoid uptake and secretion by the enterocyte during the past decade has challenged established assumptions, and the elucidation of the mechanisms of retinol intestinal absorption is in progress. After an overview of vitamin A and carotenoid fate during gastro-duodenal digestion, our focus will be directed to the putative or identified proteins participating in the intestinal membrane and cellular transport of vitamin A and carotenoids across the enterocyte (i.e., Scavenger Receptors or Cellular Retinol Binding Proteins, among others). Further progress in the identification of the proteins involved in intestinal transport of vitamin A and carotenoids across the enterocyte is of major importance for optimizing their bioavailability. View Full-Text
Keywords: retinol; carotenes; xanthophylls; bioavailability; transporters; intestinal absorption retinol; carotenes; xanthophylls; bioavailability; transporters; intestinal absorption
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Reboul, E. Absorption of Vitamin A and Carotenoids by the Enterocyte: Focus on Transport Proteins. Nutrients 2013, 5, 3563-3581.

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