Deciphering the role of retinoic acid in hepatic patterning and induction in the mouse.

TitleDeciphering the role of retinoic acid in hepatic patterning and induction in the mouse.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsGuertin, TM, Palaria, A, Mager, J, Sandell, LL, Trainor, PA, Tremblay, KD
JournalDev Biol
Date Published2022 Nov
KeywordsAnimals, Endoderm, Female, Liver, Mammals, Mice, Pregnancy, Prospective Studies, Tretinoin, Vitamin A

Retinoic acid (RA), a metabolite of vitamin A, is a small molecule and morphogen that is required for embryonic development. While normal RA signals are required for hepatic development in a variety of vertebrates, a role for RA during mammalian hepatic specification has yet to be defined. To examine the requirement for RA in murine liver induction, we performed whole embryo culture with the small molecule RA inhibitor, BMS493, to attenuate RA signaling immediately prior to hepatic induction and through liver bud formation. BMS493 treated embryos demonstrated a significant loss of hepatic specification that was confined to the prospective dorsal anterior liver bud. Examination of RA attenuated embryos demonstrates that while the liver bud displays normal expression of foregut endoderm markers and the hepato-pancreatobiliary domain marker, PROX1, the dorsal/anterior liver bud excludes the critical hepatic marker, HNF4α, indicating that RA signals are required for dorsal/anterior hepatic induction. These results were confirmed and extended by careful examination of Rdh10 embryos, which carry a genetic perturbation in RA synthesis. At E9.5 Rdh10 embryos display a similar yet more significant loss of the anterior/dorsal liver bud. Notably the anterior/dorsal liver bud loss correlates with the known dorsal-ventral gradient of the RA synthesis enzyme, Aldh1a2. In addition to altered hepatic specification, the mesoderm surrounding the liver bud is disorganized in RA abrogated embryos. Analysis of E10.5 Rdh10 embryos reveals small livers that appear to lack the dorsal/caudal lobes. Finally, addition of exogenous RA prior to hepatic induction results in a liver bud that has failed to thicken and is largely unspecified. Taken together our ex vivo and in vivo evidence demonstrate that the generation of normal RA gradients is required for hepatic patterning, specification, and growth.

Alternate JournalDev Biol
PubMed ID36028102