Rats were fed vitamin A deficient diets (-A) or supplemented with vitamin A (+A) (4.4 mg retinol equivalents/kg diet), either without (-RA) or with retinoic acid (+RA) (12 mg/kg diet) supplementation for up to six weeks. Plasma and liver levels as well as the subcellular localization of vitamin A were determined. In rats reared on the vitamin A rich diet the localization of retinyl palmitate (principal reserve form) is shown to be dependent on age. Two pools exist, i.e. one consisting of the nuclear and mitochondrial-lysosomal fractions and the other containing the microsomal and cytosol fractions. A rapid replenishment of mitochondrial-lysosomal fractions occurs in the first weeks after the weaning. During six weeks of deficient diet an identical mobilization was seen from the different subcellular fractions. Supplementation with RA caused an immediate and sustained reduction of serum vitamin A levels but did not disturb the subcellular localization of retinyl palmitate. A relationship between these phenomena and the subcellular distribution of the retinyl palmitate hydrolase (RPH) and the cellular vitamin A binding proteins (CRBP) is likely to exist.