We present a reliable, highly sensitive, and versatile method for the simultaneous determination of endogenous polar (acidic) and apolar (retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters) retinoids in various biological matrices. Following a single liquid extraction of retinoids from tissues or plasma with isopropanol, polar retinoids are separated from apolar retinoids and neutral lipids via automated solid-phase extraction using an aminopropyl phase. After vacuum concentration to dryness and reconstitution of the residue in appropriate solvents, the obtained fractions are injected onto two different high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-systems. Polar retinoids are analyzed on a RP18 column (2.1mm ID) using a buffered gradient composed of methanol and water and on-column-focusing large-volume injection. Apolar retinoids are separated on a normal-bore RP18 column using a nonaqueous gradient composed of acetonitrile, chloroform, and methanol. Both HPLC systems are coupled with UV detection, and retinoids are quantitated against appropriate internal standards. The method was validated with regard to recovery, precision, robustness, selectivity, and analyte stability. Using 400 microl serum or 200mg tissue, the limits of detection for all-trans-retinoic acid were 0.15ng/ml or 0.3ng/g, respectively. The corresponding values for retinol were 1.2ng/ml or 2.4ng/g, respectively. This method was successfully applied to mouse, rat, and human tissue and serum samples.