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Vitam Horm. 2007;75:257-83.

Retinoic acid and the heart.

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Division of Molecular Cardiology, The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, Cardiovascular Research Institute, College of Medicine Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, Temple, Texas 76504, USA.


Retinoic acid (RA), the active derivative of vitamin A, by acting through retinoid receptors, is involved in signal transduction pathways regulating embryonic development, tissue homeostasis, and cellular differentiation and proliferation. RA is important for the development of the heart. The requirement of RA during early cardiovascular morphogenesis has been studied in targeted gene deletion of retinoic acid receptors and in the vitamin A-deficient avian embryo. The teratogenic effects of high doses of RA on cardiovascular morphogenesis have also been demonstrated in different animal models. Specific cardiovascular targets of retinoid action include effects on the specification of cardiovascular tissues during early development, anteroposterior patterning of the early heart, left/right decisions and cardiac situs, endocardial cushion formation, and in particular, the neural crest. In the postdevelopment period, RA has antigrowth activity in fully differentiated neonatal cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts. Recent studies have shown that RA has an important role in the cardiac remodeling process in rats with hypertension and following myocardial infarction. This chapter will focus on the role of RA in regulating cardiomyocyte growth and differentiation during embryonic and the postdevelopment period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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