Plasma Retinoid Concentrations Are Altered in Pregnant Women

Lindsay C. Czuba, Emily E. Fay, Jeffrey Lafrance, Chase K. Smith, Sara Shum, Sue L. Moreni, Jennie Mao, Nina Isoherranen, Mary F. Hebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Vitamin A is vital to maternal–fetal health and pregnancy outcomes. However, little is known about pregnancy associated changes in maternal vitamin A homeostasis and concentrations of circulating retinol metabolites. The goal of this study was to characterize retinoid concentrations in healthy women (n = 23) during two stages of pregnancy (25–28 weeks gestation and 28–32 weeks gestation) as compared to ≥3 months postpartum. It was hypothesized that plasma retinol, retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4), transthyretin and albumin concentrations would decline during pregnancy and return to baseline by 3 months postpartum. At 25–28 weeks gestation, plasma retinol (−27%), 4-oxo-13-cis-retinoic acid (−34%), and albumin (−22%) concentrations were significantly lower, and all-trans-retinoic acid (+48%) concentrations were significantly higher compared to ≥3 months postpartum in healthy women. In addition, at 28–32 weeks gestation, plasma retinol (−41%), retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4; −17%), transthyretin (TTR; −21%), albumin (−26%), 13-cis-retinoic acid (−23%) and 4-oxo-13-cis-retinoic acid (−48%) concentrations were significantly lower, whereas plasma all-trans-retinoic acid concentrations (+30%) were significantly higher than ≥3 months postpartum. Collectively, the data demonstrates that in healthy pregnancies, retinol plasma concentrations are lower, but all-trans-retinoic acid concentrations are higher than postpartum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1365
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • postpartum
  • pregnancy
  • retinoid
  • retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4)
  • transthyretin (TTR)
  • vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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