Major breakthrough in understanding vitamin balance in the body

Press/Media: Relating to Research


Previously thought to be the duty of other organs in the body including the liver and kidneys, this is the first-time that scientists have identified a role for the brain in vitamin regulation and could have implications for diagnosis and treatment of vitamin-related diseases from anaemia to infertility to blindness. In this study, the scientists looked at vitamin A and how the brain reacts to it. Vitamin A is essential for life but until now it was not known how it is maintained in the body. Dr Imoesi explains: “What we found is radically new. No one before has even suggested that the brain may control vitamin balance in the body and this is the first study to imply a “vitaminostatic” role of the hypothalamus.

Period17 Aug 2023

Media coverage


Media coverage

  • TitleMajor breakthrough in understanding vitamin balance in the body
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletHippocratic Post
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionVitamin A is a micronutrient essential for vertebrate animals maintained in homeostatic balance in the body; however, little is known about the control of this balance. This study investigated whether the hypothalamus, a key integrative brain region, regulates vitamin A levels in the liver and circulation. Vitamin A in the form of retinol or retinoic acid was stereotactically injected into the 3rd ventricle of the rat brain. Alternatively, retinoids in the mouse hypothalamus were altered through retinol-binding protein 4 (Rbp4) gene knockdown. This led to rapid change in the liver proteins controlling vitamin A homeostasis as well as vitamin A itself in liver and the circulation. Prolonged disruption of Rbp4 in the region of the arcuate nucleus of the mouse hypothalamus altered retinol levels in the liver. This supports the concept that the brain may sense retinoids and influence whole-body vitamin A homeostasis with a possible “vitaminostatic” role.
    Producer/AuthorHippocratic Post
    PersonsPeter Imoesi


  • Hypothalamus
  • Vitamin A
  • Retinoic acid
  • Retinol
  • Homeostasis
  • Neuroscience