Vitamin E, vitamin A, and carotenoids are essential micronutrients for animals because of their antioxidant and immunostimulant functions and their implications for growth, development, and reproduction. In contrast to mammals and birds, information about their occurrence and distribution is generally lacking in reptiles, constraining our understanding of the use of these micronutrients. Using high-performance liquid chromatography, we determined the concentrations of vitamin E, vitamin A, and carotenoids in plasma, storage sites (liver and abdominal fat bodies), and in the colored ventral skin of male Common Lizards, Lacerta vivipara. All tissues shared a similar micronutrient profile, except the liver, which also showed traces of vitamin A1. The main vitamin E compound present was α-tocopherol followed by lower concentrations of γ-(β-)tocopherol. Vitamin A2 was the main vitamin A compound and it showed the highest concentration in the liver, where vitamin A2 esters and traces of vitamin A1 were found. Lutein was the main carotenoid, and it formed esters in the liver and the ventral skin. Zeaxanthin and low concentrations of β-carotene were also present. The liver was the main storage site for carotenoid and vitamin A, whereas hepatic vitamin E concentrations resembled those present in abdominal fat bodies. Compared with abdominal fat bodies, the ventral skin contained lower concentrations of vitamin A and vitamin E, but similar concentrations of carotenoids. These results suggest that important differences exist in micronutrient presence, concentration, and distribution among tissues of lizards and other taxa such as birds and mammals.
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