A distinct pool of liver ferritin has been described in man, guinea pigs and rats [Cham, Roeser, Nikles & Ridgway (1986) Clin. Chim. Acta 158, 71-79]. This ferritin accounts for approx. 30% of total intracellular ferritin. It differs from previously described cytosolic and ‘microsomal-fraction’ ferritin by its firm association with lipid and by the absence of heat-stability at 75 degrees C. The present study demonstrates that cytosolic ferritin and lipid-associated ferritin in guinea-pig livers have distinctly different rates of turnover. Cytosolic ferritin has a rate of turnover approx. 3.5 times as high as lipid-associated ferritin. The apparent metabolic heterogeneity suggests that the two forms of ferritin may have different functional roles.

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