It is currently unknown whether the capacity of the liver to esterify and store vitamin A (VA) changes as a function of long-term VA intake or age. The objective of this study was to investigate whether age and/or VA status are factors for the hepatic expression of cellular retinol-binding protein (CRBP), the esterification of retinol by lecithin:retinol acyltransferase (LRAT) and the accumulation of VA and lipids in liver. Two factors, VA intake and age, were studied in a 3 X 3 design. Diets denoted as VA-marginal, control and supplemented contained 0.35, 4 and 25 mg retinol equivalents/kg diet, respectively; male Lewis rats were fed these diets from weaning until the ages of 2-3 mo (young), 8-10 mo (middle-aged) and 18-20 mo (old) (n = 6/group. Liver CRBP mRNA differed (two-way ANOVA) with dietary VA (P < 0.0001) and age (P < 0.05). Hepatic LRAT activity increased with dietary VA (P < 0.0001). Age was not a factor (P = 0.47) although there was an interaction of age and dietary VA (P < 0.0001). Hepatic LRAT activity was correlated (r - 0.633, P < 0.0001) with plasma retinol at physiologic concentrations. In VA-supplemented rats of all ages, the plasma molar ratio of total retinol:retinol-binding protein (RBP) exceeded 1, and liver VA and total lipid concentrations were elevated. However, tests of liver function had previously been shown to be within normal values. Thus, the capacity of the liver for retinol esterification by LRAT was not diminished by age or the accumulation of VA and other lipids. We conclude the following: 1) hepatic LRAT activity is regulated across a broad, physiologic range of dietary VA; 2) LRAT activity is regulated throughout life; and 3) the capacity for hepatic VA storage is high throughout life.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics