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J Biol Chem. 1986 Oct 15;261(29):13592-7.

Retinol metabolism in LLC-PK1 Cells. Characterization of retinoic acid synthesis by an established mammalian cell line.


Specific assays, based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography, were used to quantify the conversion of retinol and retinal into retinoic acid by the pig kidney cell line LLC-PK1. Retinoic acid synthesis was linear for 2-4 h as well as with graded amounts of either substrate to at least 50 microM. Retinoic acid concentrations increased through 6-8 h, but decreased thereafter because of substrate depletion (t1/2 of retinol = 13 h) and product metabolism (1/2 = 2.3 h). Retinoic acid metabolism was accelerated by treating cells with 100 nM retinoic acid for 10 h (t1/2 = 1.7 h) and was inhibited by the antimycotic imidazole ketoconazole. Feedback inhibition was not indicated since retinoic acid up to 100 nM did not inhibit its own synthesis. Retinol dehydrogenation was rate-limiting. The reduction and dehydrogenation of retinal were 4-8-fold and 30-60-fold faster, respectively. Greater than 95% of retinol was converted into metabolites other than retinoic acid, whereas the major metabolite of retinal was retinoic acid. The synthetic retinoid 13-cis-N-ethylretinamide inhibited retinoic acid synthesis, but 4-hydroxylphenylretinamide did not. 4'-(9-Acridinylamino)methanesulfon-m-anisidide, an inhibitor of aldehyde oxidase, and ethanol did not inhibit retinoic acid synthesis. 4-Methylpyrazole was a weak inhibitor: disulfiram was a potent inhibitor. These data indicate that retinol dehydrogenase is a sulfhydryl group-dependent enzyme, distinct from ethanol dehydrogenase. Homogenates of LLC-PK1 cells converted retinol into retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate and hydrolyzed retinyl palmitate. This report suggests that substrate availability, relative to enzyme activity/amount, is a primary determinant of the rate of retinoic acid synthesis, identifies inhibitors of retinoic acid synthesis, and places retinoic acid synthesis into perspective with several other known pathways of retinoid metabolism.

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