Retinoid metabolism in the small intestine during development of liver cirrhosis

Sathish Kumar Natarajan, G. Jayakumar Amirtharaj, Anup Ramachandran, Anna B. Pulimood, Kunissery A. Balasubramanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Retinoids are important mediators of cellular differentiation and proliferation in various epithelia of the body including the small intestine. Though alterations in intestinal epithelial cell proliferation have been noted in liver cirrhosis, mechanisms involved in the process are not well understood. This study examined the levels of various retinoids and retinoid-metabolizing enzymes in the small intestine during development of liver cirrhosis. Methods: Four groups of animals were used (control, phenobarbitone control, thioacetamide and carbon tetrachloride treatment). Twice-weekly intragastric or i.p. administration of carbon tetrachloride or thioacetamide, respectively, produced liver cirrhosis after 3 months, which was confirmed through histology and serum markers. Retinoid levels were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. Results: A decrease in the levels of retinal, retinoic acid and retinol was evident in the intestine by 3 months, when cirrhosis was evident histologically, and these remained low until 6 months. A decrease in the activities of retinaldehyde oxidase, retinaldehyde reductase and retinol dehydrogenase was also seen in intestine from cirrhotic rats. Conclusion: These results suggest that altered retinoid metabolism in the intestine of cirrhotic rats might have an influence on changes in intestinal epithelial cell differentiation, seen in liver cirrhosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-829
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Enterocytes
  • Intestine
  • Retinaldehyde- and retinoid-metabolizing enzymes
  • Retinoic acid
  • Retinol
  • Thioacetamide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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