The retinoic acid (RA) signaling pathway is crucial for the control of embryonic development and also regulates function of several organ systems in the adult, including the central nervous system. The retinoic acid receptors (RARs) that mediate the majority of the functions of RA can promote proliferation, differentiation, morphogenesis and cell survival. Dysregulation of this signaling pathway has been considered in the pathophysiology of various diseases including neurodegenerative disorders such Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Thus, drugs targeted to the RARs have been proposed as treatments for such diseases. Understanding how these drugs distribute in the body is essential to determine their potential effectiveness. However measuring tissue levels of what are often lipophilic drugs can be difficult. Here we describe an indirect measurement of RAR ligand tissue distribution after intraperitoneal injection into rodents that uses a sensitive RA reporter cell line.