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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2001 Sep 15;393(2):262-70.

Metabolism of a physiological amount of all-trans-retinol in the vitamin A-deficient rat.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.


Because only retinol and not all-trans-retinoic acid (atRA) can satisfy all of the functions of vitamin A, we have investigated the retinol metabolites in tissues of vitamin A-deficient (VAD) rats responding to a radioactive dose of [20-(3)H]all-trans-retinol. As expected, atRA is the major vitamin A metabolite present in the target tissues of VAD rats given a physiological dose (1 microg) of [20-(3)H]all-trans-retinol (atROL). Both atROL and atRA were detected by high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) analysis of the radioactivity extracted from the liver, kidney, small intestine, lung, spleen, bone, skin, or testis of these animals. Novel retinol metabolites were observed in the aqueous extracts from the testis, lung, and skin. However, these metabolites were detected in very small amounts and were not characterized further. Importantly, neither 9-cis-retinoic acid (9cRA), 9-cis-retinol (9cROL), nor 13-cis-retinoic acid (13cRA) was present in detectable amounts. The amounts of atRA varied in each tissue, ranging from 0.29 +/- 0.05 fmol of RA/g of tissue in the femurs to 12.9 +/- 4.3 fmol of RA/g of tissue in the kidneys. The absence of 9cRA in vivo was not due to degradation of this retinoid during the extraction procedure or HPLC analysis of the extracted radioactivity. As atROL completely fulfills all of the physiological roles of vitamin A, and 9cRA is not detected in any of the tissues analyzed, these results suggest that 9cRA may have no physiological relevance in the rat.

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