Altered Expression of Multiple Genes Involved in Retinoic Acid Biosynthesis in Human Colorectal Cancer
The ability of class I alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1) and class IV alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH4) to metabolize retinol to retinoic acid is supported by genetic studies in mice carrying Adh1 or Adh4 gene disruptions. To differentiate the physiological roles of ADH1 and ADH4 in retinoid metabolism we report here the generation of an Adh1/4 double null mutant mouse and its comparison to single null mutants. We demonstrate that loss of both ADH1 and ADH4 does not have additive effects, either for production of retinoic acid needed for development or for retinol turnover to minimize toxicity. During gestational vitamin A deficiency Adh4 and Adh1/4 mutants exhibit completely penetrant postnatal lethality by day 15 and day 24, respectively, while 60% of Adh1 mutants survive to adulthood similar to wild-type. Following administration of a 50-mg/kg dose of retinol to examine retinol turnover, Adh1 and Adh1/4 mutants exhibit similar 10-fold decreases in retinoic acid production, whereas Adh4 mutants have only a slight decrease. LD(50) studies indicate a large increase in acute retinol toxicity for Adh1 mutants, a small increase for Adh4 mutants, and an intermediate increase for Adh1/4 mutants. Chronic retinol supplementation during gestation resulted in 65% postnatal lethality in Adh1 mutants, whereas only approximately 5% for Adh1/4 and Adh4 mutants. These studies indicate that ADH1 provides considerable protection against vitamin A toxicity, whereas ADH4 promotes survival during vitamin A deficiency, thus demonstrating largely non-overlapping functions for these enzymes in retinoid metabolism.