Retinoic acid, the active form of the nutrient vitamin A, regulates several facets of neuronal plasticity in the hippocampus, including neurogenesis and synaptic strength, acting via specific retinoic acid receptors (RARs). Essential for conversion of vitamin A to retinoic acid is the enzyme retinaldehyde dehydrogenase (RALDH) and in the rodent hippocampus this is only present in the adjacent meninges where it must act as a locally released paracrine hormone. Little is known though about the expression of RALDHs and RARs in the human hippocampus. This study confirms that RALDH levels are very low in mouse neurons but, surprisingly, strong expression of RALDH protein is detected by immunohistochemistry in hippocampal neurons. The receptors RARα, β and γ were also detected, each receptor exhibiting differing subcellular locations implying their potential regulation of both transcription and non-genomic actions. These results imply an essential function of retinoic acid in the human hippocampus likely to include regulation of neuronal plasticity.
- vitamin a
- retinaldehyde dehydrogenase
- retinoic acid receptor
- dentate gyrus
Fragoso, Y. D., Shearer, K. D., Sementilli, A., de Carvalho, L. V., & McCaffery, P. J. (2012). High expression of retinoic acid receptors and synthetic enzymes in the human hippocampus. Brain Structure and Function, 217(2), 473-483. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-011-0359-0