We have labelled the rat vitamin D binding protein (DBP), DBP-actin and rat albumin with 125I-tyramine-cellobiose (125I-TC). In contrast with traditional 125I-labelling techniques where degraded radioactive metabolites are released into plasma, the 125I-TC moiety is trapped intracellularly in the tissues, where the degradation of the labelled proteins takes place. By using this labelling method, the catabolism of proteins can be studied in vivo. In this study we have used this labelling technique to compare the tissue uptake and degradation of DBP, DBP-actin and albumin in the rat. DBP-actin was cleared from plasma at a considerably faster rate than DBP. After intravenous injection of labelled DBP-actin complex, 48% of the radioactive dose was recovered in the liver after 30 min, compared with 14% when labelled DBP was administered. Only small amounts of DBP-actin complex were recovered in the kidneys. In contrast with the results obtained with DBP-actin complex, liver and kidneys contributed about equally in the uptake and degradation of DBP determined 24 h after the injection. When labelled DBP was compared with labelled albumin, the amount of radioactivity taken up by the liver and kidneys by 24 h after the injection was 2 and 5 times higher respectively. In conclusion, liver and kidneys are the major organs for catabolism of DBP in the rat. Furthermore, binding of actin to DBP enhances the clearance of DBP from circulation as well as its uptake by the liver.

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