Pharmacological inhibition of ALDH1A in mice decreases all-trans retinoic acid concentrations in a tissue specific manner

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all-trans retinoic acid (atRA), the active metabolite of vitamin A, is an essential signaling molecule. Specifically the concentrations of atRA are spatiotemporally controlled in target tissues such as the liver and the testes. While the enzymes of the aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A family (ALDH1A) are believed to control the synthesis of atRA, a direct relationship between altered ALDH1A activity and tissue atRA concentrations has never been shown. To test whether inhibition of ALDH1A enzymes decreases atRA concentrations in a tissue specific manner, the potent ALDH1A inhibitor WIN 18,446 was used to inhibit ALDH1A activity in mice. The ALDH1A expression, atRA formation kinetics, ALDH1A inhibition by WIN 18,446 and WIN 18,446 disposition were used to predict the time course and extent of inhibition of atRA formation in the testis and liver. The effect of WIN 18,446 on atRA concentrations in testis, liver and serum were measured following single and multiple doses of WIN 18,446. ALDH1A1 and ALDH1A2 were responsible for the majority of atRA formation in the testis while ALDH1A1 and aldehyde oxidase contributed to atRA formation in the liver. Due to the different complement of enzymes contributing to atRA formation in different tissues and different inhibition of ALDH1A1 and ALDH1A2 by WIN 18,446, WIN 18,446 caused only a 50% decrease in liver atRA but testicular atRA decreased over 90%. Serum atRA concentrations were also reduced. These data demonstrate that inhibition of ALDH1A enzymes will decrease atRA concentrations in a tissue specific manner and selective ALDH1A inhibition could be used to alter atRA concentrations in select target tissues.

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