Protamine-mediated Transport of Albumin into Brain and Other Organs of the Rat: Binding and Endocytosis of Protamine-Albumin Complex by Microvascular Endothelium

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High doses of intravenous protamine cause generalized vascular permeability changes in brain and other organs, and concomitant hypoproteinemia.The present investigations test the hypothesis that protamine has a dual action of both binding serum proteins and of undergoing absorptive-mediated transcytosis through microvascular endothelial barriers. Binding of albumin to protamine was demonstrated using equilibrium dialysis, and protamine was shown to selectively augment the uptake of albumin, but not sucrose, in isolated bovine or human brain capillaries. In contrast, the anionic macromolecule, dextran sulfate, resulted in an increased capillary uptake of both albumin and sucrose in vitro. The selective effects of protamine on albumin transport were also documented in vivo using an external organ technique; the intravenous injection of 1.5 mg/kg protamine resulted in a marked and selective influx of albumin into brain, heart, kidney, lung, and liver, and the increased albumin transport exceeded the increased sucrose uptake in some organs by an order of magnitude. The transcytosis of protamine through the cerebral microvascular barrier was documented with an internal carotid artery perfusion technique. In summary, these studies provide evidence for protamine-mediated vectorial transport of albumin through microvascular barriers in brain and other organs. (J. Clin. Invest. 1993. 92:2224-2229.) Key words: blood-brain barrier. dextran sulfate. CD4. gamma globulin. liver

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