We have investigated the relative efficacy of a range of natural and synthetic retinoids on the induction of alveolar regeneration in a dexamethasone-treated mouse model. The aim was to explore the roles of the different retinoic acid receptors using receptor-selective agonists and to determine whether other natural retinoids in addition to all-trans-retinoic acid (tRA) were effective. Dexamethasone treatment of newborn pups led to a reduced lung surface area and increased mean chord length. Subsequently, tRA induced alveolar repair, improved mean chord length, and improved the lung surface area to volume ratio. We found that 4-oxo-RA and a retinoic acid receptor (RAR) alpha-selective compound were as effective as tRA at inducing alveolar regeneration, with neither showing a significantly better efficacy. An RARbeta-selective compound was also effective, whereas a RARgamma-selective compound was not. Other retinoids, such as 9-cis-RA, 13-cis-RA, retinol, and a pan retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist, do not induce significant responses. Neither did granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. We also showed that an RARbeta-null mutant mouse line responded to dexamethasone by failing to develop alveoli appropriately and that tRA induced alveolar regeneration, suggesting that RARbeta was not required for the regenerative response.