Retinoids in health and disease: A role for hepatic stellate cells in affecting retinoid levels

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Vitamin A (retinol) is important for normal growth, vision and reproduction. It has a role in the immune response and the development of metabolic syndrome. Most of the retinol present in the body is stored as retinyl esters within lipid droplets in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). In case of liver damage, HSCs release large amounts of stored retinol, which is partially converted to retinoic acid (RA). This surge of RA can mediate the immune response and enhance the regeneration of the liver. If the damage persists activated HSCs change into myofibroblast-like cells producing extracellular matrix, which increases the chance of tumorigenesis to occur. RA has been shown to decrease proliferation and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma. The levels of RA and RA signaling are influenced by the possibility to esterify retinol towards retinyl esters. This suggests a complex regulation between different retinoids, with an important regulatory role for HSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158674
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Retinol
  • Retinoic acid
  • Hepatic stellate cells
  • Liver
  • Retinol binding protein
  • Hepatocyte
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma


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