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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993 Apr 7;1167(2):159-64.

Intestinal perfusion of beta-carotene in the ferret raises retinoic acid level in portal blood.

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  • 1USDA Human Nutrition Research Center, School of Nutrition, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111.


To determine whether beta-carotene (beta-C) can serve as a source of intestinally-derived retinoic acid (RA), either 15,15'-[14C]beta-C or unlabeled beta-C was perfused through 30 cm jejunal segments of ferrets in vivo. Portal vein blood was sampled periodically via an indwelling catheter. RA was identified in portal blood by comparing retention times in HPLC, by UV absorption, and by derivatization (methylation) and subsequent GC-MS analysis. The RA concentration in the portal blood increased 3-fold with perfusion of beta-C (P < 0.05), and remained at 18 nmol/L during the perfusion of beta-C. The single peak of RA in HPLC was shown to consist of four separate peaks by GC-MS, which may be cis-trans isomers of RA. The concentration of RA in portal blood returned to the initial level (5 nmol/L) after a 2 h period of intestinal perfusion with 5% dextrose. Retinyl ester concentration in portal blood did not change before or after the perfusion, whereas retinol decreased significantly during the perfusion of beta-C. This study clearly indicates that a considerable quantity and number of polar metabolites, including RA, are formed from beta-C in the ferret intestine which are transported via the portal vein to the liver.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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