Retinoic acid treatment enhances lipid oxidation and inhibits lipid biosynthesis capacities in the liver of mice

Jaume Amengual, Joan Ribot, M. Luisa Bonet, Andreu Palou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vitamin A, mainly as retinoic acid (RA), is known to affect the development and function of adipose tissues. Treatment with RA reduces body weight and adiposity independent of changes in food intake in mice. Lipid metabolism in liver can have a major impact on whole body adiposity. The aim of this work was to investigate the effects of an in vivo treatment with RA on hepatic lipid metabolism in mice. Adult, standard diet-fed mice were treated with different doses of all-trans RA or vehicle (subcutaneous injection) for 4 days before sacrifice. Food intake and body weight changes during treatment were determined, as well as adiposity, liver composition, levels of circulating metabolites and lipoproteins and expression levels of key mRNA species in liver following sacrifice. RA treatment resulted in reduced body weight and adiposity, as expected. In the liver, RA treatment triggered an increase in the mRNA expression levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha, retinoid X receptor alpha, uncoupling protein 2, liver-type carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1, and carnitine/acylcarnitine carrier, and a reduction in the mRNA expression levels of sterol regulatory element binding protein 1c and fatty acid synthase. Consistent with the changes in gene expression, hepatic triacylglycerol content and circulating VLDL fraction were reduced and levels of circulating ketone bodies increased after RA treatment. These results point to a capacity of active vitamin A forms to shift liver lipid metabolism in vivo towards increased catabolism and reduced lipogenesis. These effects might contribute to the reduction of adiposity brought about by RA treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-666
Number of pages10
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adiposity
  • Body weight
  • Liver fat content
  • Liver lipid metabolism
  • Retinoic acid
  • Vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Retinoic acid treatment enhances lipid oxidation and inhibits lipid biosynthesis capacities in the liver of mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this