A vitamin for the brain

Kirsty D Shearer, Patrick N Stoney, Peter J Morgan, Peter J McCaffery

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


In the central nervous system (CNS) the function of retinoic acid, the active metabolite of vitamin A, is best understood from its action in guiding embryonic development; as development comes to completion, retinoic acid signaling declines. However, it is increasingly recognized that this signaling mechanism does not disappear in the adult brain but becomes more regionally focused and takes on new roles. These functions are often tied to processes of neural plasticity whether in the hippocampus, through homeostatic neural plasticity, the olfactory bulb or the hypothalamus. The role of retinoic acid in the control of plastic processes has led to suggestions of its involvement in neural disorders, both degenerative and psychiatric. This review presents a snapshot of developments in these areas over recent years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-741
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number12
Early online date5 Sept 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • nuclear receptor
  • retinoic acid
  • vitamin A
  • neural plasticity


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