The metabolism of [4-14C]oestrone and of [6,7-3H2]oestrone sulphate was studied during cyclic perfusion and once-through perfusion of the isolated rat liver. The following results were obtained. 1. As shown by once-through perfusion, the two steroids are metabolized differently during the first passage through the organ. [4-14C]Oestrone was taken up by the liver and partly delivered as oestradiol-17β and oestriol into the medium. After uptake of [6,7-3H2]oestrone sulphate, only oestrone, liberated by hydrolysis, was delivered into the medium; no oestradiol-17β or oestriol could be detected in the medium after one passage through the organ. This indicates that intracellular oestrone, which was taken up as such, and oestrone, which derived from intracellular hydrolysis, may be metabolized in different compartments of the liver cell. 2. The results of the cyclic perfusion showed that intracellular oestrone is preferentially conjugated with glucuronic acid, and subsequently excreted into the bile. Intracellular oestrone sulphate is preferably reduced to oestradiol sulphate, thus indicating that oestrone sulphate is a better substrate for the 17β-hydroxy steroid oxidoreductase than is oestrone. 3. Albumin-bound oestrone sulphate acts as a large reservoir, and in contrast with free oestrone is protected from enzyme attack by its strong binding to albumin. 4. Oestrone sulphate is partly converted into the hormonally active oestrone by liver tissue. This suggests that liver not only inactivates oestrogens, but also provides the organism with oestrone, which is subsequently readily taken up by other organs.

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