Recent studies suggest that vitamin A plays an inhibitory role with respect to "activation" of the hepatic Ito cell, a likely effector of hepatic fibrogenesis. Ito cell "activation" during fibrogenesis is characterized by a decrease in intracellular vitamin A and an increase in cellular proliferation and collagen production. To explore the hypothesis that retinoids have the capacity to diminish Ito cell activation, cultured Ito cells were exposed to retinoic acid and its effects assessed on three key features: cell proliferation, collagen protein production and mRNA abundance, and transforming growth factor β protein production. Retinoic acid was 100-1,000× more potent than retinol with respect to inhibition of Ito cell proliferation. Interstitial collagen and transforming growth factor β production were also reduced by 10-6 M retinoic acid. The relative abundance of type I collagen mRNA however, was not significantly altered. By contrast, retinoic acid administration to rats caused a marked reduction in the abundance of type I collagen mRNA in both total hepatic and purified Ito cell RNA. The relative abundance of rat hepatic fibronectin or apolipoprotein E mRNA was not significantly altered. These studies demonstrate that retinoic acid can differentially modulate several key features of hepatic fibrogenesis in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2062-2070
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1990


  • Cirrhosis
  • Cytokines
  • Hepatic fibrosis
  • Nodule formation
  • Vitamin A


Dive into the research topics of 'Retinoic acid modulates rat ito cell proliferation, collagen, and transforming growth factor β production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this