Endogenous retinoids in the early avian embryo

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1995 Dec 26;217(3):1026-31. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1995.2872.


Vitamin A is required to rescue the vitamin A-deficient quail embryo from early death, but the endogenous presence of bioactive retinoids has not been documented in these embryos. The analysis of 2000 pooled stage 5-8 normal quail embryos described here provides for the first time direct evidence for the presence of endogenous all-trans-retinoic acid (5 nM) and 3,4-didehydroretinoic acid (4 nM), signaling molecules known to be potent ligands for nuclear retinoic acid receptors. The demonstration of all-trans-retinal (80 nM), all-trans-retinol (100 nM), 3,4-didehydroretinol (200 nM), and retinyl esters (100 nM) suggests the capability of the early avian embryo to generate in situ the vitamin A-bioactive molecules required for development. Analysis of 2100 pooled stage 5-8 quail embryos from vitamin A-deficient eggs revealed no vitamin A-like molecules, supporting the evidence that links vitamin A deficiency in these embryos to abnormalities and early death.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coturnix / embryology*
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / physiology
  • Retinoids / metabolism*
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / embryology


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Retinoids