Injection of choline-3H into choline-deficient rats resulted in an enhanced incorporation of the label into liver lecithin, as compared to the incorporation of label into liver lecithin of normal rats. The results obtained with the use of different lecithin precursors indicate that in the intact liver cell, both in vivo and in vitro, exchange of choline with phosphatidyl-choline is not significant. The synthesis and secretion of lecithins by the choline-deficient liver compare favorably with the liver of choline-supplemented rats, when both are presented with labeled choline or lysolecithin as lecithin precursors. Radioautography of the choline-deficient liver shows that 5 min after injection of choline-3H the newly synthesized lecithin is found in the endoplasmic reticulum (62%), mitochondria (13%), and at the "cell boundary" (20%). The ratio of the specific activity of microsomal and mitochondrial lecithin, labeled with choline, glycerol, or linoleate, was 1.53 at 5 min after injection, but the ratio of the specific activity of phosphatidyl ethanolamine (PE), labeled with ethanolamine, was 5.3. These results indicate that lecithin and PE are synthesized mainly in the endoplasmic reticulum, and are transferred into mitochondria at different rates. The site of a precursor pool of bile lecithin was studied in the intact rat and in the perfused liver. Following labeling with choline-3H, microsomal lecithin isolated from perfused liver had a specific activity lower than that of bile lecithin, but the specific activity of microsomal linoleyl lecithin was comparable to that of bile lecithin between 30 and 90 min of perfusion. It is proposed that the site of the bile lecithin pool is located in the endoplasmic reticulum and that the pool consists mostly of linoleyl lecithin.

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