Opsonins play a role in the hepatic uptake of particles such as bacteria, lipid emulsion, and liposomes. The objective of this study was to distinguish between opsonin depletion and uptake saturation in the dose-dependent hepatic uptake of liposomes. The uptake of opsonized and unopsonized liposomes was determined in the isolated perfused liver. Serum (2.9 mL) was required to opsonize 1 mumol liposomes fully, indicating that a rat (250 g with 10 mL of serum) can opsonize 3.5 mumol liposomes. Next the dose effect on hepatic uptake of opsonized and unopsonized liposomes was examined. Saturation of uptake was found only for the opsonized liposomes. On the other hand, the hepatic uptake clearance decreased dose dependently from 4.31 to 0.79 (mL/min), with increasing doses from 0.075 to 17 mumol/250 g, respectively, after i.v. administration. Thus, the decrease in the hepatic uptake clearance at the medium dose was due to the saturation of uptake alone, and at the high dose it was due to opsonin depletion as well. These results show that the saturation of liposomal uptake in the liver and the depletion of opsonins occurred at different liposome dosage levels.