Hepatic uptake of polystyrene microspheres in rats: effect of particle size on intrahepatic distribution

J Control Release. 1999 May 1;59(1):15-22. doi: 10.1016/s0168-3659(99)00015-2.


The in vivo disposition of polystyrene microsphere (MS) with the particle size of 50 nm (MS-50) or 500 nm (MS-500) was characterized after intravenous administration to rats. A rapid elimination from systemic circulation was observed for both MSs. Tissue distribution of MS-50 and MS-500 at 1 h after intravenous injection indicated that both MSs were exclusively distributed to liver and that small but significant amounts of MS-50 and MS-500 were also distributed to lung and spleen, respectively. To investigate the intrahepatic distribution of MS, liver was separated into liver parenchymal cells (PC) and non-parenchymal cells (NPC) at 1 or 6 h after intravenous administration. The contribution of each cell fraction was dependent on both the size of MS and the time after administration. Furthermore, by separating the NPC into endothelial cells and Kupffer cells using a centrifugal elutriation method, their contribution was also evaluated. For both MSs, Kupffer cells were recognized to be mostly responsible for the hepatic uptake, although a significant amount of MS-50 (about 28% of total uptake) was taken up by PC. On the other hand, there was little contribution of PC (about 5%) to the hepatic uptake of MS-500. The endothelial cells were contributed larger to the uptake of MS-500 (about 24%) than that of MS-50 (13%).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelium / cytology
  • Endothelium / metabolism
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Kupffer Cells / metabolism
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microspheres
  • Particle Size
  • Polystyrenes / blood
  • Polystyrenes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Polystyrenes