The fate of small doses of isotopically labeled isologous hemoglobin was studied in the rat. When haptoglobin depleted animals were given 2.0 mg of 59Fe hemoglobin intravenously, nearly half was trapped by the kidneys. Kidney 59Fe activity disappeared slowly over several weeks. Whatever iron was lost from the kidneys was largely reutilized. In contrast, the porphyrin of hemoglobin absorbed by the kidneys appeared to be rapidly catabolized, since 5 hr after the injection of 14C or 59Fe heme-labeled hemoglobin only a small fraction was recovered as hematin. Likewise, after injection of globin-labeled hemoglobin, rapid disappearance of kidney protein activity indicated that the absorbed globin was readily catabolized in situ.
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