The cellular location and carbohydrate specificities of a glycoprotein recognition system on rat hepatic sinusoidal cells have been determined. Purified preparations of endothelial, Kupffer, and parenchymal cells were prepared by collagenase liver perfusion, centrifugation on Percoll gradients, and centrifugal elutriation. 125I-labeled agalactoorosomucoid, an N-acetylglucosamine-terminated glycoprotein, was selectively taken up in vitro by endothelial cells. Uptake was shown to be protein dependent, calcium ion dependent, and saturable, and could be described by Michaelis-Menten kinetics (apparent Km 0.29 μM; apparent maximum velocity 4.8 pmol/h per 5 × 106 cells). Uptake was inhibited not only by N-acetylglucosamine, mannose, and mannan but also by glucose, fructose, and a glucose-albumin conjugate. Inhibition by glucose was competitive over a wide range of concentrations and was almost 100% at a glucose concentration of 56 mM. Fasting and the induction of diabetes mellitus prior to isolation of cells was associated with 60% reductions in the recovery of endothelial cells. Uptake by cells isolated from fasted rats was enhanced (apparent maximum velocity 14.3 pmol/h per 5 × 106 cells without change in the apparent Km). These observations suggest that fasting is associated with a marked increase in the mean number of glycoprotein receptors per endothelial cell isolated from normal rats. This effect of fasting could be due to upregulation of glycoprotein receptors on endothelial cells or to the selective isolation of a subpopulation of endothelial cells from fasted animals that bears more glycoprotein receptors per cell than does another subpopulation of these cells. In addition, in vivo studies of the fate of intravenously administered 125I-agalactoorosomucoid indicated that its rate of disappearance from plasma, hepatic accumulation, and catabolism were slower in diabetic than in normal rats. The results suggest that modulation of a carbohydrate-mediated glycoprotein recognition system located on hepatic endothelial cells can be induced by glucose and glucose-conjugated proteins and by fasting and diabetes mellitus. The findings in this study suggest a mechanism for abnormal glycoprotein metabolism in diabetes mellitus.


John A. Summerfield, John Vergalla, E. Anthony Jones


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