Imaging of hepatic low density lipoprotein receptors by radionuclide scintiscanning in vivo

M. Huettinger, J. R. Corbett, W. J. Schneider, J. T. Willerson, M. S. Brown, J. L. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor mediates the cellular uptake of plasma lipoproteins that are derived from very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). Most of the functional LDL receptors in the body are located in the liver. Here, we describe a radionuclide scintiscanning technique that permits the measurement of LDL receptors in the livers of intact rabbits. 123I-labeled VLDL were administered intravenously, and scintigraphic images of the liver and heart were obtained at intervals thereafter. In seven normal rabbits, radioactivity in the liver increased prgressively between 1 and 20 min after injection, while radioactivity in the heart (reflecting that in plasma) decreased concomitantly. In Watanabe-heritable hyperlipidemic rabbits, which lack LDL receptors on a genetic basis, there was little uptake of 123I-labeled VLDL into the liver and little decrease in cardiac radioactivity during this interval. These findings demonstrate that the LDL receptor is necessary for the hepatic uptake of VLDL-derived lipoproteins in the rabbit. Two conditions that diminish hepatic LDL receptor activity, cholesterol-feeding and prolonged fasting, also reduced the uptake of 123I-labeled VLDL in the liver as measured by scintiscanning. The data suggest that radionuclide scintiscanning can be used as a noninvasive method to quantify the number of LDL receptors expressed in the liver in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7599-7603
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23 I
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Imaging of hepatic low density lipoprotein receptors by radionuclide scintiscanning in vivo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this