Control by the brain of vitamin A homeostasis

Peter I. Imoesi, Cristian M. Olarte-Sánchez, Lorenzo Croce, William S. Blaner, Peter J. Morgan, Lora Heisler, Peter McCaffery*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vitamin 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107373
Number of pages18
Issue number8
Early online date5 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2023


  • Biological sciences
  • Endocrinology
  • Natural sciences
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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