Chylomicron metabolism. Chylomicron uptake by bone marrow in different animal species

J Biol Chem. 1989 Oct 25;264(30):17931-8.


Previously it was shown in rabbits that 20-40% of the injected dose of chylomicrons was cleared from the plasma by perisinusoidal bone marrow macrophages. The present study was undertaken to determine whether the bone marrow of other species also cleared significant amounts of chylomicrons. Canine chylomicrons, labeled in vivo with [14C]cholesterol and [3H] retinol, were injected into marmosets (a small, New World primate), rats, guinea pigs, and dogs. Plasma clearance and tissue uptake of chylomicrons in these species were contrasted with results obtained in rabbits in parallel studies. The chylomicrons were cleared rapidly from the plasma in all animals; the plasma clearance of chylomicrons was faster in rats, guinea pigs, and dogs compared with their clearance from the plasma of rabbits and marmosets. The liver was a major site responsible for the uptake of these lipoproteins in all species. However, as in rabbits, the bone marrow of marmosets accounted for significant levels of chylomicron uptake. The uptake by the marmoset bone marrow ranged from one-fifth to one-half the levels seen in the liver. The marmoset bone marrow also took up chylomicron remnants. Perisinusoidal macrophages protruding through the endothelial cells into the marrow sinuses were responsible for the accumulation of the chylomicrons in the marmoset bone marrow, as determined by electron microscopy. In contrast to marmosets, chylomicron clearance by the bone marrow of rats, guinea pigs, and dogs was much less, and the spleen in rats and guinea pigs took up a large fraction of chylomicrons. The uptake of chylomicrons by the non-human primate (the marmoset), in association with the observation that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins accumulate in bone marrow macrophages in patients with type I, III, or V hyperlipoproteinemia, suggests that in humans the bone marrow may clear chylomicrons from the circulation. It is reasonable to speculate that chylomicrons have a role in the delivery of lipids to the bone marrow as a source of energy and for membrane biosynthesis or in the delivery of fat-soluble vitamins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Bone Marrow / metabolism*
  • Bone Marrow / ultrastructure
  • Callitrichinae
  • Chylomicrons / blood
  • Chylomicrons / metabolism*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hepatectomy
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reference Values
  • Species Specificity
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • Spleen / ultrastructure


  • Chylomicrons