Increase in retinyl palmitate concentration in eyes and livers and the concentration of interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein in eyes of vitiligo mutant mice

S. B. Smith, T. Duncan, G. Kutty, R. K. Kutty, B. Wiggert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Retinyl esters play an important role in the visual cycle because they are involved in regeneration of 11-cis-retinal for use in rhodopsin formation. In the present study, retinyl ester concentrations were significantly elevated in eyes and livers of mice homozygous for the vitiligo mutation (mi(vit)/mi(vit)). Vitiligo mice demonstrate a slowly progressing retinal degeneration characterized by gradual loss of photoreceptor cells and rhodopsin as well as uneven pigmentation of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Analysis of retinoids by h.p.l.c. indicated that the retinyl palmitate level was increased fivefold in eyes of affected mice at 10 weeks postnatally and was threefold higher at 22 weeks of age. Accumulation of retinyl palmitate occurred in the RPE rather than the neural retina. Furthermore, the concentration of all-trans-retinol was elevated in the RPE of vitiligo mice. Levels of interphotoreceptor retinoid binding protein (IRBP) were increased in vitiligo mice between ages 4 and 14 weeks. but returned to normal by 16 weeks. Increased IRBP levels were not due to increased protein synthesis because IRBP mRNA levels did not differ significantly between control and affected animals. To examine possible systemic involvement in vitiligo mice, retinoids were evaluated in liver and plasma. Mean hepatic total vitamin A levels in affected mice were approximately 1.7 times higher than controls. Analysis of esterified and non-esterified retinoids in liver showed that the concentration of retinyl palmitate was elevated. Plasma retinol levels were normal. This study provides the first evidence of altered systemic retinoid metabolism in vitiligo mice, which occurs, significantly, under normal dietary conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this