1. Influx and efflux of l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine with isolated rat liver parenchymal cells and their plasma-membrane vesicles were studied by a rapid centrifugation technique. 2. At 23°C and in the concentration range that included the concentration of free l-tri-iodothyronine in rat plasma (3–5pm) influx into cells was saturable; an apparent Kt value of 8.6±1.6pm was obtained. 3. At 5pm-l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine in the external medium the ratios of the concentrations inside to outside in cells and plasma-membrane vesicles were 38:1 and 366:1 respectively after 7s of incubation. At equilibrium (60s at 23°C) uptake of l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine by cells was linear with the hormone concentration, whereas that by plasma-membrane vesicles exhibited an apparent saturation with a Kd value of 6.1±1.3pm. 4. Efflux of l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine from cells equilibrated with the hormone (5–123pm) was constant up to 21 s; the amount that flowed out was 17.7±3.8% when cells were equilibrated with 5pm-hormone. When plasma-membrane vesicles were equilibrated with l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine (556–1226pm) 66.8±5.8% flowed out after 21 s. 5. From a consideration of the data on efflux from cells and binding of l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine to the liver homogenate, as studied by the charcoal-adsorption and equilibrium-dialysis methods, it appears that 18–22% of the hormone exists in the free form in the cell. 6. Vinblastine and colchicine diminished the uptake of l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine by cells but not by plasma-membrane vesicles; binding to the cytosol fraction was not affected. Phenylbutazone, 6-n-propyl-2-thiouracil, methimazole and corticosterone diminished the uptake by cells, plasma-membrane vesicles and binding to the cytosol fraction to different extents. 7. These results suggest that at low concentrations of l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine rat liver cells and their plasma-membrane vesicles accumulated the hormone against an apparent gradient by a membrane-mediated process. Contribution of cytoplasmic proteins to uptake by plasma-membrane vesicles was negligible. The amount of l-tri-[125I]iodothyronine required to achieve half-maximal uptake agrees with that occurring in the free form in the blood, conferring physiological importance to the transporting system in the plasma membrane of the liver cell.

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