June 1982
Volume 22, Issue 6
Articles  |   June 1982
Vitamin A in human eyes: amount, distribution, and composition.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 1982, Vol.22, 706-714. doi:
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      C D Bridges, R A Alvarez, S L Fong; Vitamin A in human eyes: amount, distribution, and composition.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1982;22(6):706-714.

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The amount, distribution, and composition of vitamin A stored in the eyes of 29 postmortem donors was determined by a combination of techniques, including high-pressure liquid chromatography. The vitamin A concentration in the pigment epithelium-choroid (RPE-Ch) was the highest observed for human non-liver tissue and amounted to 7.9 +/- 4.3 nmol/eye (n = 28), or 10.4 +/- 7.1 microgram/gm (n = 27). There was no evidence for significant losses during the interval between death and enucleation or during subsequent storage at 4 degrees C. The vitamin A extracted from the retina was 15.3% of that in the corresponding RPE-Ch. By measuring rhodopsin regeneration in retinal homogenates incubated with 11-cis retinal, we estimated that the amount of vitamin A in the RPE-Ch of fully dark-adapted eyes would represent 2.5 mole equivalents of the retinal rhodopsin, a value similar to that found in the frog. A preponderance of the vitamin A in the eye was esterified (98.3% in the RPE-Ch, 79.3% in the retina) and consisted principally of stearate and palmitate in the ratio of 1:4.8. A small amount of oleate was also detected. The ratio of 11-cis isomer over the all-trans averaged 1.52 +/- 0.48 (n - 11). Variable, usually small proportions of 13-cis retinyl esters were also present. Intact RPE-Ch or isolated RPE cells esterified exogenous all-trans-3H2-retinol to the same fatty acids in roughly the same proportions as in the endogenous stores. The all-trans configuration was mainly retained during uptake and esterification, although some isomerization to 13-cis also occurred. No 11-cis isomer was formed under these conditions.


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