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J Biol Chem. 1985 Nov 5;260(25):13571-5.

Hepatic uptake of [3H]retinol bound to the serum retinol binding protein involves both parenchymal and perisinusoidal stellate cells.


We have studied the hepatic uptake of retinol bound to the circulating retinol binding protein-transthyretin complex. Labeled complex was obtained from the plasma of donor rats that were fed radioactive retinol. When labeled retinol-retinol binding protein-transthyretin complex was injected intravenously into control rats, about 45% of the administered dose was recovered in liver after 56 h. Parenchymal liver cells were responsible for an initial rapid uptake. Perisinusoidal stellate cells initially accumulated radioactivity more slowly than did the parenchymal cells, but after 16 h, these cells contained more radioactivity than the parenchymal cells. After 56 h, about 70% of the radioactivity recovered in liver was present in stellate cells. For the first 2 h after injection, most of the radioactivity in parenchymal cells was recovered as unesterified retinol. The radioactivity in the retinyl ester fraction increased after a lag period of about 2 h, and after 5 h more than 60% of the radioactivity was recovered as retinyl esters. In stellate cells, radioactivity was mostly present as retinyl esters at all time points examined. Uptake of retinol in both parenchymal cells and stellate cells was reduced considerably in vitamin A-deficient rats. Less than 5% of the injected dose of radioactivity was found in liver after 5-6 h (as compared to 25% in control rats), and the radioactivity recovered in liver from these animals was mostly in the unesterified retinol fraction. Studies with separated cells in vitro suggested that both parenchymal and stellate cells isolated from control rats were able to take up retinol from the retinol-retinol binding protein-transthyretin complex. This uptake was temperature dependent.

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