Ito cell expression of a nuclear retinoic acid receptor

Hepatology. 1992 Feb;15(2):336-42. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840150226.


Although it has been suggested that retinoids regulate Ito cell proliferation and collagen synthesis, little is known about the ability of Ito cells to respond to retinoids in vivo. Because retinoids may mediate their molecular effects through nuclear receptors, Ito cells were examined for the presence of one of these receptors, nuclear retinoic acid receptor-beta. The modulation of nuclear retinoic acid receptor-beta expression was also studied during cell culture and hepatic fibrogenesis. Northern hybridization analysis revealed that Ito cells freshly isolated from normal rat liver contained nuclear retinoic acid receptor-beta messenger RNA at levels significantly higher than those found in other hepatic cell types. Ito cells also contained messenger RNA for two other nuclear retinoic acid receptors, nuclear retinoic acid receptor-alpha and nuclear retinoic acid receptor-gamma. Using an antibody to human nuclear retinoic acid receptor-beta, the nuclear presence of this receptor was demonstrated in normal Ito cells. In contrast, Ito cells cultured for at least 7 days had no detectable messenger RNA or nuclear staining for nuclear retinoic acid receptor-beta despite a 20 +/- 5-fold increase in the messenger RNA level of another retinoid binding protein, cellular retinol binding protein. Analysis of Ito cells isolated from rats with carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic fibrosis revealed an 81% +/- 3% decrease in nuclear retinoic acid receptor-beta messenger RNA levels in these cells when compared with normal Ito cells. No difference in the messenger RNA levels of cellular retinol binding protein was found in Ito cells isolated from either normal or fibrotic liver.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diterpenes
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / pathology
  • Male
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin A / pharmacology


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Diterpenes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Vitamin A
  • retinol acetate
  • Tretinoin