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Med Hypotheses. 2018 Dec;121:56. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2018.09.020. Epub 2018 Sep 14.

How to safeguard an appropriate "all trans retinoic acid" concentration to keep cell division on track: Exploring therapeutic hotspots from metabolomics.

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Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Electronic address:


In this letter to editor, I hypothesize a potential affinity of retinol saturase (RetSat) enzyme towards a conjugated trienoic fatty acid; alpha-eleostearic acid (α-ESA) and subsequent hindrance of the action on its usual substrate; all trans retinol. Hence, RetSat is speculated to be involved in a rapid unusual conversion of α-ESA to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), giving a less priority to its usual substrate all trans retinol, which would subsequently be converted into "all trans retinoic acid" (atRA). Otherwise, all trans retinol is converted by RetSat into all-trans-13,14-dihydroretinol and eventually forms all-trans-13,14-dihydroretinoic acid, but not the atRA. The atRA controls differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis of cells and it's deficiencies end up as neoplasms. Thus, here it is emphasized that safeguarding atRA would help controlling cell division and growth in a favourable manner. Hence, inhibition of RetSat could be a hot target to control unwarranted cell growths within the body. This hypothesis could be easily tested in a RetSat ablated (RetSat -/-) animal model or using antagonists on RetSat activity or α-ESA.


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