Abstract Retinal dehydrogenase (RALDH) catalyzes the oxidation of retinal to all- trans and 9- cis retinoic acid, which function as ligands controlling RAR and RXR nuclear receptor-signaling pathways. We have recently shown the expression of RALDH transcript in the stomach and small intestine by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction [Bhat, P.V., Labrecque J., Dumas, F., Lacroix, A. and Yoshida, A. (1995) Gene 166, 303–306]. We have examined RALDH expression in the stomach and small intestine before and during postnatal development and in vitamin A deficiency by assaying for mRNA levels and protein as well as for enzyme activity. In −2 day fetuses, RALDH expression was high in the small intestine, whereas RALDH protein was not detectable in the stomach. However, expression of RALDH was seen in the stomach after birth, and gradually increased with age and reached the highest level at postnatal day 42. In the intestine, RALDH expression decreased postnatally. Vitamin A deficiency up-regulated RALDH expression in the stomach and small intestine, and administration of retinoids down-regulated the RALDH expression in these tissues. These results show the differential expression of RALDH in the stomach and small intestine during postnatal development, and that vitamin A status regulates the expression of RALDH gene in these tissues.