The molecular basis of retinoic acid induced night blindness

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1989 Jun 15;161(2):825-9. doi: 10.1016/0006-291x(89)92674-0.


Drugs which affect the processing of vitamin A in the retina or pigment epithelium can cause ocular toxicity. It is shown here that the retinoic acids, which are used in the treatment of skin disorders and which cause night blindness, inhibit the ocular retinol dehydrogenases in an in vitro system. This is shown to lead to a decrease in the formation of the visual chromophore 11-cis-retinal, thus explaining why night blindness might occur.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Animals
  • Diterpenes
  • Night Blindness / etiology*
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / metabolism
  • Rana pipiens
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retinaldehyde / biosynthesis
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Tretinoin / toxicity*
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin A / biosynthesis


  • Diterpenes
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Vitamin A
  • retinol palmitate
  • Tretinoin
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • retinol dehydrogenase
  • Retinaldehyde