1. Lactoferrin and aminopeptidase M-modified lactoferrin (APM-lactoferrin; which lacks its 14 N-terminal amino acids) inhibit the liver uptake of lipoprotein remnants. In the present study, the role of proteoglycans in the initial interaction of β-migrating very-low-density lipoprotein (β-VLDL), native and APM-lactoferrin with isolated rat parenchymal liver cells was investigated. Treatment of the cells with chondroitinase lowered the Kd of lactoferrin binding (from 10 to 2.4 μM), and the number of sites/cell (from 20×106 to 7×106), while heparinase treatment did not affect the binding. The binding characteristics of APM-lactoferrin and β-VLDL were not altered by treatment of the cells with chondroitinase or heparinase. It is concluded that proteoglycans are not involved in the initial binding of APM-lactoferrin and β-VLDL to parenchymal cells, while chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans are mainly responsible for the massive, low-affinity binding of native lactoferrin. 2. The binding of lactoferrin, APM-lactoferrin and β-VLDL to parenchymal liver cells was not influenced by the glutathione S-transferase-receptor-associated protein (GST-RAP) (97.2±4.0%, 95.5±3.7% and 98.5% of the control binding), while the binding of α2-macroglobulin was fully blocked at 10 μg/ml GST-RAP (1.8±0.5% of the control binding). Since GST-RAP blocks the binding of all the known ligands to the low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-receptor-related protein (LRP), it is concluded that LRP is not the initial primary recognition site for lactoferrin, APM-lactoferrin and β-VLDL on parenchymal liver cells. 3. We showed earlier that APM-lactoferrin, as compared with lactoferrin, is a more effective inhibitor of the liver uptake of lipoprotein remnants (49.4±4.0% versus 80.8±4.8% of the control at 500 μg/ml respectively). We found in the present study that β-VLDL is able to inhibit the binding of APM-lactoferrin to parenchymal liver cells significantly (74.9±3.3% of the control; P < 0.002), while the lactoferrin binding was unaffected. It is concluded that a still unidentified specific recognition site (the putative remnant receptor) is responsible for the initial binding of remnants to parenchymal cells and it is suggested that the partial cross-competition between APM-lactoferrin and β-VLDL may be of further help in the elucidation of the molecular nature of this recognition site.

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