Retinoic Acid Is Present in the Postnatal Rat Olfactory Organ and Persists in Vitamin A-Depleted Neural Tissue1–3

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Vitamin A (VA), all-trans-retinol (at-ROL), and its derivative, all-trans-retinoic acid (at-RA), are required for neuron development. The effects of these retinoids are dependent upon the nutritional status of the rat and tissue-specific dynamics of retinoid access and utilization. The purpose of this study was to determine the status of at-ROL and at-RA in the peripheral olfactory organ of postnatal rats fed a normal diet and rats fed a VA-deficient (VAD) diet. Extracted retinoids were analyzed by HPLC. Resolved sample peaks were identified by comparing their elution times and spectra with those of authentic standards. Mean at-RA and at-ROL concentrations of 23 pmol/g olfactory tissue and 0.13 nmol/g, respectively, were recovered from olfactory tissue. The ratio of at-RA:at-ROL in olfactory was ˜2 times that in testis and 200 times that in liver. at-ROL was depleted from the liver and olfactory organ of rats fed a VAD diet from birth to 70 d of age. Surprisingly, at-RA was still present in olfactory tissue from these rats. At 90 d of age, the VAD rats were frankly deficient and at-RA was no longer detectable in olfactory tissue. The comparatively high ratio of at-RA:at-ROL in the peripheral olfactory organ and the persistence of at-RA in at-ROL-depleted tissues strongly suggests that maintenance of local stores of at-RA is functionally relevant in this tissue. J. Nutr. 139: 1067–1072, 2009.

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