Here, we describe the discovery of a new major endogenous vitamin A metabolite with particularly high hepatic concentrations. This metabolite was isolated from mouse livers and was characterized as 9-cis-4-oxo-13,14-dihydro-retinoic acid (RA) based on mass spectral, ultraviolet, and nuclear magnetic resonance analyses. It was also detected in one human liver. To gain further insight into endogenous retinoid metabolism, mice were fed over a period of 14 days ad libitum with diets enriched with different amounts of retinyl palmitate [15,000, 45,000 or 150,000 international units (IU)/kg diet]. Higher retinyl palmitate amounts in the diet resulted surprisingly in a dose-dependent decrease in all-trans-RA levels in serum, kidney, and brain, whereas levels of 9-cis-4-oxo-13,14-dihydro-RA, retinol, and retinyl esters were dose-dependently elevated in serum, kidney, and liver. 13-cis-RA levels could be detected in serum, liver, and kidney, but were unaffected by the dietary vitamin A status. 9-cis-RA levels were below the detection limit of 0.2 ng/ml serum or 0.4 ng/g tissue. This study indicates that the oxidation at C4 of the cyclohexenyl ring, isomerization of the C9/C10 double bond, and reduction of the C13/C14 double bond are major endogenous metabolic pathways of vitamin A.