Transferrin receptors and the uptake and release of iron by isolated hepatocytes

S P Young, P Aisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Isolated rat hepatocytes accumulate iron from iron-transferrin by a process which is dependent on the temperature and on the transferrin concentration, and which is diminished by treatment of the cells with a proteolytic enzyme. These observations are consistent with a mechanism for iron uptake into hepatocytes involving the binding of iron-transferrin to a specific cell-surface receptor. Apotransferrin is also able to bind to the hepatocyte but the apparent binding constant is about 35 times lower than that observed for the binding of iron-transferrin. The binding of apotransferrin to the cells is completely abolished by a low concentration of iron-transferrin. This suggests that the apotransferrin is binding weakly to the same receptor to which iron-transferrin binds and that there are not receptors on the surface of the hepatocyte specific for apotransferrin. In the absence of such specific-binding sites, apotransferrin may act as a passive acceptor of iron released from the hepatocyte.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-9
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1981


  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Rats
  • Animals
  • Transferrin
  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Liver
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Iron
  • Male
  • Deferoxamine
  • Apoproteins


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