Locally applied retinol is metabolized to retinoic acid in mouse epidermis in vivo. To characterize the oxidation system we investigated the ability of soluble extracts of hairless-mouse epidermis to convert retinol and retinal into retinoic acid. The extracts oxidized retinol to retinoic acid in two steps catalysed by two NAD+-dependent enzymes that were resolved on h.p.l.c. The first enzyme catalyses the reversible oxidation of retinol to retinal and is an alcohol dehydrogenase isoenzyme. The second enzyme oxidizes retinal to retinoic acid. Retinol oxidation by epidermal extracts was inhibited by the alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitor 4-methylpyrazole and by the polyene citral. The toxicity and relatively low potency at inhibiting the epidermal alcohol dehydrogenase isoenzyme curtailed the use of 4-methylpyrazole in vivo. However, citral significantly inhibited retinoic acid formation from retinol in the epidermis in vivo. The ability to inhibit the oxidation of retinol to retinoic acid in mouse epidermis provides a potential method to resolve the roles of retinol and retinoic acid in epithelial function.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.