Retinoic acid

Pricing Availability   Qty
Description: Endogenous retinoic acid receptor agonist
Alternative Names: Tretinoin,ATRA
Chemical Name: 3,7-Dimethyl-9-(2,6,6-trimethyl-1-cyclohexen-1-yl)-2E,4E,6E,8E,-nonatetraenoic acid
Purity: ≥98% (HPLC)
Citations (6)
Protocols (2)
Literature (1)

Biological Activity for Retinoic acid

Retinoic acid is an endogenous agonist for retinoic acid receptors (IC50 = 14 nM for RARα, RARβ and RARγ receptors). Retinoic acid specifies anterior-posterior patterning of neural progenitors. It promotes differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into adipocytes, neurons and glia in vitro. Retinoic acid also promotes differentiation of human PSCs into dopaminergic neurons and maturation of retinal organoids. It is a proposed ligand of RORβ (Kd = 280 nM). Activates autophagy.

For more information about how Retinoic acid may be used, see our protocols: Generation of β cells from hPSCs, Cultivating Cerebral Organoids.

Scientific Data

IBJ6 human fibroblast induced pluripotent stem cells which have been differentiated into motor neurons. Performed using a combination of LDN 193189 (100 nM) (Catalog # 6053,Tocris) and SB 431542 (Catalog # 1614, Tocris) followed by Retinoic acid and Purmorphamine (Catalog # 4551, Tocris) culture on Laminin for 18 days. Commitment to the motor neuron fate was assessed using the motor neuron marker anti-Human Islet-1 (red, Catalog # AF1837, R&D Systems) and the general neuronal marker, beta III tubulin (green, Catalog # MAB1195, R&D Systems). For visualization, the neurons were stained using Northernlights™ 557-conjugated Donkey anti-Goat Secondary Antibody (Catalog # NL001, R&D Systems) and Northernlights™ 493-conjugated Donkey anti-Mouse Secondary Antibody (Catalog # NL009, R&D Systems) and counterstained with DAPI (blue, Catalog # 5748, Tocris).

Technical Data for Retinoic acid

M. Wt 300.44
Formula C20H28O2
Storage Store at -20°C
Purity ≥98% (HPLC)
CAS Number 302-79-4
PubChem ID 444795
Smiles CC(/C=C/C1=C(C)CCCC1(C)C)=C\C=C\C(C)=C\C(O)=O

The technical data provided above is for guidance only. For batch specific data refer to the Certificate of Analysis.

Tocris products are intended for laboratory research use only, unless stated otherwise.

Solubility Data for Retinoic acid

Solvent Max Conc. mg/mL Max Conc. mM
DMSO 7.51 25
ethanol 3 10

Preparing Stock Solutions for Retinoic acid

The following data is based on the product molecular weight 300.44. Batch specific molecular weights may vary from batch to batch due to the degree of hydration, which will affect the solvent volumes required to prepare stock solutions.

Select a batch to recalculate based on the batch molecular weight:
Concentration / Solvent Volume / Mass 1 mg 5 mg 10 mg
0.25 mM 13.31 mL 66.57 mL 133.14 mL
1.25 mM 2.66 mL 13.31 mL 26.63 mL
2.5 mM 1.33 mL 6.66 mL 13.31 mL
12.5 mM 0.27 mL 1.33 mL 2.66 mL

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Product Datasheets for Retinoic acid

Certificate of Analysis / Product Datasheet
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References for Retinoic acid

References are publications that support the biological activity of the product.

Apfel et al (1992) A retinoic acid receptor alpha antagonist selectively counteracts retinoic acid effects. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.U.S.A. 89 7129 PMID: 1323127

Dani et al (1997) Differentiation of embryonic stem cells into adipocytes in vitro. J. Cell Sci. 110 1279 PMID: 9202388

Sanquer and Gilchrest (1994) Characterisation of human cellular retinoic acid binding proteins-1 and -2: ligand binding affinities and distribution in skin. Arch.Biochem.Biophys. 311 86 PMID: 8185324

Merck Index 12 8333

Stehlin-Gaon et al (2003) All-trans retinoic acid is a ligand for the orphan nuclear receptor RORβ. Nat.Struct.Biol. 10 820 PMID: 12958591

Galluzzi et al (2017) Pharmacological modulation of autophagy: therapeutic potential and persisting obstacles. Nat.Rev.Drug.Discov. PMID: 28529316

Lancaster et al (2015) Generation of Cerebral Organoids from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Nat.Protoc. 9 2329 PMID: 25188634

Kadoshima et al (2013) Self-organization of axial polarity, inside-out layer pattern, and species-specific progenitor dynamics in human ES cell-derived neocortex. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.USA. 110 20284 PMID: 24277810

Tao and Zhang (2016) Neural subtype specification from human pluripotent stem cells. Cell Stem Cell 19 573 PMID: 27814479

Alekseenko et al (2022) Robust derivation of transplantable dopamine neurons from human pluripotent stem cells by timed retinoic acid delivery. Nat.Commun. 13 3046 PMID: 35650213

Sanjurjo-Soriano et al (2022) Retinoic acid delays initial photoreceptor differentiation and results in a highly structured mature retinal organoid. Stem Cell Res.Ther. 13 478 PMID: 36114559

If you know of a relevant reference for Retinoic acid, please let us know.

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View all Retinoic Acid Receptor Agonists

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⚠ WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including All-trans retinoic acid, which is known to the State of California to cause reproductive toxicity with developmental effects. For more information, go to

6 Citations for Retinoic acid

Citations are publications that use Tocris products. Selected citations for Retinoic acid include:

Bohnenpoll (2017) Retinoic acid signaling maintains epithelial and mesenchymal progenitors in the developing mouse ureter. Sci Rep 7 14803 PMID: 29093497

Lewis et al (2015) Inhibition of PAD4 activity is sufficient to disrupt mouse and human NET formation. J Med Food 11 189 PMID: 25622091

Davies et al (2012) Evolution and functional characterisation of melanopsins in a deep-sea chimaera (elephant shark, Callorhinchus milii). PLoS One 7 e51276 PMID: 23251480

Li et al (2018) Fast Generation of Functional Subtype Astrocytes from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cell Reports 11 998 PMID: 30269954

Do you know of a great paper that uses Retinoic acid from Tocris? Please let us know.

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Protocols for Retinoic acid

The following protocols feature additional information for the use of Retinoic acid (Cat. No. 0695).

Literature in this Area

Tocris offers the following scientific literature in this area to showcase our products. We invite you to request* your copy today!

*Please note that Tocris will only send literature to established scientific business / institute addresses.

Retinoid Receptors Scientific Review

Retinoid Receptors Scientific Review

Written by Alexander Moise, this review summarizes the nature of retinoid receptors, their isotype and isoform variants and modulation of retinoid signaling. Compounds available from Tocris are listed.