Fluid-phase endocytosis by intrahepatic bile duct epithelial cells isolated from normal rat liver

M. Ishii, B. Vroman, N. F. LaRusso

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19 Scopus citations


Although recent data from our laboratory have established the occurrence of receptor-mediated endocytosis in intrahepatic bile duct epithelial cells (IBDEC) isolated from normal rat liver, no studies have assessed the role of isolated IBDEC in fluid-phase endocytosis. Therefore, to determine if IBDEC participate in fluid-phase endocytosis, we incubated morphologically polar doublets of IBDEC isolated from normal rat liver with horseradish peroxidase (HPR, 5 mg/ml), a protein internalized by fluid-phase endocytosis, and determined its intracellular distribution by electron microscopic cytochemistry. Pulse-chase studies using quantititative morphometry were also performed to assess the fate of HRP after internalization. After incubation at 37°C, IBDEC internalized HRP exclusively at the apical (i.e., luminal) domain of their plasma membrane; internalization was completely blocked at 4°C. After internalization, HRP was seen in acid phosphatase-negative vesicles and in acid phosphatase-positive multivesicular bodies (i.e., secondary lysosomes). Small acid phosphatase-negative vesicles containing HRP moved progressively from the apical to the basal domain of IBDEC. Pulse-chase studies showed that HRP was then discharged by exocytosis at the basolateral cell surface. These results demonstrate that IBDEC prepared from normal rat liver participate in fluid-phase endocytosis. After internalization HRP either is routed to secondary lysosomes or undergoes exocytosis after transcytosis from the luminal to the basolateral cell surface. Our results suggest that IBDEC modify the composition of bile by internalizing both biliary proteins and fluid via endocytic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-524
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990


  • Bile ducts
  • Epithelia
  • Fluid-phase endocytosis
  • Liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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