The transport of carcinoembryonic antigen from the circulation of the bile has been studied in the rat. Biliary excretion was directly proportional to the intravenously administered dose. Approximately 1-1.5% of the injected is excreted in the bile. Asialo-(carcinoembryonic antigen), asialo-fetuin and asialo-(alpha 1-acid glycoprotein) behaved similarly. The transit time through the liver for both native- and asialo-(carcinoembryonic antigen) was calculated as 47 min. Sialic acid content was not affected during biliary excretion. Glycoproteins that entered the liver cell lysosomes were not excreted in ther bile. A mechanism by which circulating proteins may by-pass the hepatocytes before being excreted in bile is suggested. Alternative mechanisms of protein entry into bile are discussed.

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