Researchers find that the brain controls 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  regulation and could have implications for diagnosis and treatment of vitamin-related diseases from anemia to infertility to blindness. The study was conducted initially on rats and found that a region of the brain called the  may be responsible for controlling the levels of vitamin A, and that there may be top-down control of vitamin A function around the body.

Period9 Aug 2023

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Media coverage

  • TitleResearchers find that the brain controls vitamin balance in the body
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletMedical Xpress
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryIsle Of Man
    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.
    PersonsPeter Imoesi


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