Vitamin A: not required for adrenal steroidogenesis in rats

Science  06 Feb 1976:
Vol. 191, Issue 4226, pp. 472-475
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246630


Previous work supporting the vitamin A dependency of adrenal function in rats neglected to take into account a secondary effect of the deficiency, a decrease in hepatic ascorbic acid biosynthesis. Vitamin A-depleted rats maintained on a diet free of ascorbate had a decrease in the activity of adrenal 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, and extensive adrenocortical degeneration. The use of an ascorbate supplement prevented the symptoms. The results suggest that previous evidence for direct involvement of vitamin A in steroidogenesis may have been due to the production of a secondary deficiency, a chronic scorbutic condition.