Research: PASQUALI and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 19


PASQUALI and colleagues, V and M McLean Department of Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas USA, note that very little is known regarding the physiological role of Vitamin A (retinol) and its derivatives, the retinoids, in the prostate.




The authors show that normal prostate, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and prostage cancer tissues contain endogenous retinol and its biologically active metabolite retinoic acid. Compared with normal or cancer prostate tissues, retinol concentration was raised 2-fold in BPH. In contrast, prostate cancer tissue had 5-8 times less retinoic acid than either normal prostate or BPH. Prostate tissue expresses dehydrogenases capable of converting retinol to retinoic, with retinaldehyde as an intermediate. The formation of retinal from retinol occurs in microsomes; that of retinal to retinoic acid in the cytosol. The nuclear retinoic acid receptors alpha, beta and gamma are expressed in normal and tumour samples.


These studies establish a role for retinoids in prostate physiology and possibly in prostate cancer pathophysiology.


Pasquali D et al. Abnormal level of retinoic acid in prostte cancer tissues. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 81(6): 2186-91. Jun 1996.

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