Denatured or modified proteins (including albumin and low-density lipoprotein) are catabolized in vitro via scavenger receptors. We have studied the distribution of formaldehyde-denatured albumin in rat liver cells after intravenous injection of tracer doses of the protein. At 12 min after injection, most of the formaldehyde-denatured albumin (about 70% of the injected dose) was recovered in liver endothelial cells. Furthermore, isolated liver endothelial cells in suspension and in surface culture took up formaldehyde-denatured albumin by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Our data indicate that the scavenger receptor in liver is mainly located on the endothelial cells. Implications for the catabolism of low-density lipoproteins are discussed.

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