Retinoic Acid: A Potential Risk Factor for Congenital Heart Disease

Maria Fareed Siddiqui*1, Sehar Farooq2, Amna Komal Khan3, Tallat Anwar Faridi4, Ayaz Ali Khan1

  • Maria Fareed Siddiqui 1. Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lahore, Pakistan
  • Sehar Farooq 2. Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Lahore, Pakistan
  • Amna Komal Khan 3. Department of Biotechnology, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Tallat Anwar Faridi 4. University Institute of Physical Therapy, University of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Ayaz Ali Khan 1. Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lahore, Pakistan
Keywords: Congenital heart defect, birth defects, retinoic acid, retinoid receptors


Retinoic acid (RA), a derivative of vitamin A, plays an essential role in human beings during growth and development. Intake of vitamin A in body is by either
animal/plant diet or use of medication to treat skin problems and cancer. Adequate intake of retinoic acid is critical as high and low quantities of retinoid lead to
developmental defect by acting through retinoid receptors present in human body, which actively modulate many signaling pathways and control embryonic development and differentiation. Excess intake of RA cause congenital heart diseases (CHD) by up and down regulation of genes associated with CHD. Therefore, intake of retinoic acid or other analogous drugs especially during pregnancy enhances the risk of developing CHD. Physician and pharmacist should provide proper counseling to female patients about the benefits and risks of drugs prescribed during pregnancy. Furthermore, advancement in therapies likes surgery, angioplasty and tissue engineering used for the treatment of CHD. This review discusses an association between retinoic acid and CHD, its prevention and treatment options available.