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Content of retinol and retinyl esters in blood plasma, liver, kidney and reproductive organs of Japanese quails

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Due to its importance in many physiological processes such as cell proliferation and differentiation, vitamin A plays a key role in reproduction. The present study examines the content and distribution of retinol and retinyl esters in the blood plasma, liver, kidney, ovary and oviduct (infundibulum, magnum, isthmus and uterus) of the laying Japanese quail. (1) The results show that the stage of egg laying had no influence on the level of vitamin A (retinol or retinyl esters) in plasma, kidney and liver. (2) The results further indicate that in the oviduct there are quantitative and qualitative differences in the concentration of retinol and retinyl esters, but that these differences are not altered by the stage of egg formation. (3) The highest levels of vitamin A in the isthmus and uterus were associated with a predominance of retinyl esters (palmitate and stearate); sections with lower total levels of vitamin A (infundibulum, magnum) had retinol as the more dominant form of vitamin A. (4) Changes in the ratio of retinol to retinyl esters in the various sections of the avian oviduct might point to metabolic differences. The storage of vitamin A might therefore be the predominant function of the uterus and isthmus; in the infundibulum and magnum, where vitamin A is predominantly present as retinol, vitamin A serves rather as a precursor for the modulation of the cellular metabolism of these structures.
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Keywords: Japanese quail; Vitamin A; blood plasma; liver; ovary; oviduct; reproduction

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-10-16

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