Vitamin-A reversal of abnormal dark adaptation in cirrhosis. Study of effects on the plasma retinol transport system

Ann Intern Med. 1978 May;88(5):622-6. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-88-5-622.


Of 26 patients hospitalized with mild to moderate alcohol-associated cirrhosis, 14 had dark-adaptation abnormalities consistent with marginal vitamin-A status. The response of dark adaptation and the plasma retinol transport proteins, retinol-binding protein and prealbumin, was studied in 12 of these patients after daily oral vitamin-A supplements of 3300 microgram. Vitamin-A supplementation was associated with significant (p less than 0.05-0.005) improvement in dark adaptation and increased plasma concentrations of retinyl esters, retinol, and retinol-binding protein. Thus in patients with cirrhosis and marginal vitamin-A status, supplemental vitamin-A therapy appears to stimulate retinol-binding protein release from the liver. This enhancement of plasma retinol transport and delivery of retinol to peripheral tissues such as the retina is one of several factors that may serve to optimize vitamin-A nutritional status in patients with cirrhosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Dark Adaptation* / drug effects
  • Esters / blood
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / physiopathology*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prealbumin / blood
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / blood
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma
  • Tretinoin / blood
  • Vitamin A / blood*
  • Vitamin A / pharmacology
  • Zinc / blood


  • Esters
  • Prealbumin
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma
  • Vitamin A
  • Tretinoin
  • Zinc