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The key role of vitamin A in embryonal development is reviewed. Special emphasis is given to the physiological action of retinoids, as evident from the retinoid ligand knockout models. Retinoid metabolism in embryonic tissues and teratogenic consequences of retinoid administration at high doses are presented. Physiological and pharmacological actions of(More)
Retinoic acid is synthesized from retinaldehyde by several different dehydrogenases, which are arranged in conserved spatial and developmentally regulated patterns. Here we show for the mouse that a class-1 aldehyde dehydrogenase, characterized by oxidation and disulfiram sensitivity, is found in the brain at high levels only in the basal forebrain. It is(More)
Retinoic acid, a developmental signal implicated in the formation of the neural axis, is present at high levels in the early embryonic trunk region, where it is synthesized by a novel dehydrogenase. Here we show that the same enzyme is inducible by retinoic acid in P19 teratocarcinoma cells, and we report the cloning from P19 cells of a cDNA encoding a(More)
Retinaldehyde dehydrogenase type 2 (RALDH-2) is a major retinoic acid generating enzyme in the early embryo. Here we report the immunolocalization of this enzyme (RALDH-2-IR) in stage 6-29 chicken embryos; we also show that tissues that exhibit strong RALDH-2-IR in the embryo contain RALDH-2 and synthesize retinoic acid. RALDH-2-IR indicates dynamic and(More)
Retinaldehyde dehydrogenase type 2 (RALDH-2) was identified as a major retinoic acid generating enzyme in the early embryo. Here we report the expression domains of the RALDH-2 gene during mouse embryogenesis, which are likely to indicate regions of endogenous retinoic acid (RA) synthesis. During early gastrulation, RALDH-2 is expressed in the mesoderm(More)
This review describes some of the properties of retinoic acid (RA) in its functions as a locally synthesized differentiation factor for the developing nervous system. The emphasis is on the characterization of the metabolic enzymes that synthesize and inactivate RA, and which determine local RA concentrations. These enzymes create regions of autocrine and(More)
The developing eye is known to be rich in retinoic acid (RA), and perturbations in RA levels during formation of the optic primordia, as well as RA receptor mutations, cause retinal malformations, especially in ventral eye regions. To test the hypothesis that RA plays a role in the establishment of ventral retinal characteristics, we examined several dorsal(More)
The active component of the acne drug Accutane is 13-cis-retinoic acid (RA), and it is highly teratogenic for the developing central nervous system. Very little is known, however, regarding the effect of this drug on the adult brain. Regions of the brain that may be susceptible to RA are those that continue to generate new neurons. In the adult mouse,(More)
In the central nervous system (CNS) the function of retinoic acid, the active metabolite of vitamin A, is best understood from its action in guiding embryonic development; as development comes to completion, retinoic acid signaling declines. However, it is increasingly recognized that this signaling mechanism does not disappear in the adult brain but(More)