Immunolocalization of retinoic acid biosynthesis systems in selected sites in rat.

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Exp Cell Res 2005 Aug; 308(2):309-19.


Vitamin A deficiency leads to focal metaplasia of numerous epithelial tissues with altered differentiation from columnar (in general) to stratified squamous cells. This process can be reversed with vitamin A repletion. Previously, we described a system of retinoic acid (RA) synthesis in the cycling rat uterus consisting of cellular retinol binding protein (Crbp), epithelial retinol dehydrogenase (eRoldh), retinal dehydrogenase 2 (Aldh1a2), and cellular retinoic acid binding protein type II (Crabp2). Western blot analysis, RT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry were performed to test whether this retinoic acid synthesis system was also present in other vitamin A sensitive tissues. We found that combinations of Crbp, eRoldh, Aldh1a2 or Aldh1a3, and Crabp2 were present in all vitamin A sensitive tissues examined. In the ureter, while eRoldh was present, another short chain alcohol dehydrogenase reductase (possibly Roldh 1, 2, or 3) was in higher concentration in the transitional epithelia. In several tissues, Crbp, Aldh1a2, and/or Aldh1a3 localized to mesenchyme and/or epithelial cells, while eRoldh and Crabp2 were expressed only in epithelial cells. This suggests that mesenchymal-epithelial interactions may be as important in the adult as they are during development and that local synthesis of RA is important in maintenance of these tissues.