A rapid step-gradient reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method is presented for analysis of the major classes of retinoids in tissues. Retinal was converted into a new derivative, retinal (O-ethyl) oxime, since the standard derivative, retinaloxime, co-elutes with retinol on reversed-phase HPLC. The most abundant naturally occurring retinyl esters, ritinyl palmitate and retinyl stearate, were eluted within 12 min to complete the separation. Retinoids were extracted in the presence of an antioxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene, and a lipid carrier, cholesterol. Recoveries of 98-100% were obtained from tissue samples by internal addition for the retinoids tested (retinol, retinal and retinyl palmitate), and the absolute recovery of endogenous retinal from rat eyecups was confirmed by spectrophotometric measurements of rhodopsin. Extraction was carried out in an air atmosphere and under subdued incandescent light rather than requiring inert atmosphere and safe-light conditions used in most methods. Cis-trans isomers were not separated under the reversed-phase HPLC conditions employed. Quantitation was carried out using retinyl acetate as internal standard and the day to day precision was better than 3.5%. A sensitivity of about 1 ng is obtained for all retinoids using absorbance monitoring at 325 nm and a C18 5 μm column with 12% reversed-phase loading. The tocopherols can also be separated and detected simultaneously with similar sensitivity by this method using a fluorescence detector in series [G. J. Handelman, L. J. Machlin, K. Fitch, J. J. Weiter and E. A. Dratz, J. Nutr., 115 (1985) 807].
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial supportw as providedb y The NetherlandsO rganizationf or the Ad-vancemenot f Pure Research( ZWO) (to FJGMvK), Hoffmann-LaRoche and NIH (to EAD).