Vitamin A-derived retinoic acids (RAs) are known to exert a variety of biological actions, including modulatory effects on cell differentiation and apoptosis. A recent study has demonstrated that 13-cis-RA and all-trans-RA suppressed neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus in adult mice. The present experiments were performed to see whether 13-cis-RA and all-trans-RA could alter the dendritic morphology of cultured hippocampal neurons via RA receptors: retinoic acid receptor (RAR) and retinoid X receptor (RXR). High doses of 13-cis-RA and all-trans-RA exerted a negative effect on the cultured hippocampal neurons, while a low dose of 13-cis-RA but not all-trans-RA caused a positive effect. The negative changes induced by 13-cis-RA and all-trans-RA were antagonized by RXR antagonists and RAR antagonists, respectively. The positive changes induced by a low dose of 13-cis-RA were blocked by both RXR antagonists and RAR antagonists. These results suggest that RAs at high concentrations cause a negative effect on the dendritic morphology of cultured hippocampal neurons through RA receptors, while RAs at low concentrations exert a positive influence on cultured hippocampal neurons.