Saturable, non-Michaelis-Menten uptake of liposomes by the reticuloendothelial system

J Pharm Pharmacol. 1991 Mar;43(3):162-6. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.1991.tb06658.x.


Multilamellar vesicles (300-350 nm) were infused into the rat femoral vein at the rate of 4, 40 and 400 nmol phosphatidycholine min-1 for 6 h using [3H]inulin as an aqueous marker. The time courses of blood concentration of vesicles, normalized for infusion rate, were not superimposable, showing the non-linearity of liposome disposition in the blood circulation. These time courses of blood concentration were well fitted by a single Michaelis-Menten equation. On the other hand, the time courses of tissue content could not be so accommodated. Additionally, the observed relationship between the uptake of liposomes by the liver and their clearance from it and other organs differed essentially from a simulation based on Michaelis-Menten type saturable kinetics. Therefore, it is suggested that there is a time-dependent non-Michaelis-Menten type process in the phagocytosis of macrophages in the reticuloendothelial system.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insulin
  • Liposomes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mononuclear Phagocyte System / metabolism*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • Liposomes