1. Rats pretreated with Triton WR-1339 to prevent the formation of remnants were injected with [3H]cholesterol-labelled remnants, intact chylomicrons or chylomicrons depleted of most of their surface phospholipids by treatment with phospholipase A2. Within 5 min about 80% of the injected label of remnants and phospholipid-depleted chylomicrons was incorporated into the livers compared with less than 10% of the injected radioactivity of intact chylomicrons. A similar rapid hepatic uptake of radioactivity occurred when rats not pretreated with Triton were injected with [3H]cholesterol-labelled phospholipid-depleted chylomicrons. This rapid hepatic uptake of phospholipid-depleted chylomicrons occurred apparently without any alteration in the apoprotein composition of the particles. 2. The participation of hepatocytes in the uptake of remnants and phospholipid-depleted chylomicrons was examined. Both types of particles were taken up by the hepatocytes. However, small chylomicrons (Sf less than 400) were taken up more efficiently than were large chylomicrons (Sf greater than 400), but neither was taken up as efficiently as the remnants. 3. The results of this study lend support to the hypothesis that phospholipid-depleted chylomicrons and chylomicron remnants are taken up by the liver by a similar mechanism, which depends on the loss of surface phospholipids.

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