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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1983 Jul;57(1):160-5.

Protein-bound corticosteroid in human serum is selectively transported into rat brain and liver in vivo.


It is generally regarded that only free corticosteroid is available for entry into tissues in vivo, although some studies have suggested that albumin-bound corticosteroid is available for liver uptake. However, recent studies suggest that owing to favorable kinetic relationships among tissue capillary transit times and hormone dissociation rates from plasma proteins, free plus albumin-bound hormone may be available to peripheral tissues. Moreover, globulin-bound hormone may enter the liver under normal conditions and be available to peripheral tissues under pathological circumstances. The present studies measure the free and noncorticosteroid-binding globulin (non-CBG)-bound corticosteroid fractions in vitro and compare these measurements to the fraction of corticosteroid in human sera that is available for entry into rat brain and rat liver in vivo. Corticosterone was used as the model corticosteroid, since this compound binds to CBG with the same affinity as does cortisol, and the brain extraction of corticosterone is more readily measured in vivo than is the brain extraction of cortisol. Serum was obtained from 51 human subjects and included samples from newborns, pregnant mothers, normal subjects, and patients with either cirrhosis or renal failure. Serum levels of CBG varied more than 6-fold, and both the free and the non-CBG-bound fractions were generally inversely related to the CBG concentration. The fraction of corticosterone available for entry into the brain was much greater than the free fraction, but was not significantly different from the non-CBG-bound moiety. Moreover, the rate of corticosterone dissociation from CBG (t 1/2 = 27 +/- 1 sec at 22 C) was not increased in any of the serum samples studied. The fraction of corticosterone available for uptake by the liver was up to 3-fold greater than that of the non-CBG fraction and had no relationship with the serum concentration of CBG. These studies indicate that albumin-bound, but not globulin-bound, corticosteroid is available for entry into a peripheral tissue such as the brain. However, globulin-bound corticosteroid is readily transported into the liver. It is suggested that the routine measurements of the non-CBG-bound corticosteroid provide a more accurate index of the corticosteroid available to peripheral tissues in vivo than does the measurement of free corticosteroid.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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