Two novel cholesteryl ether derivatives were synthesized and radioiodinated: (1) [125I]cholesteryl m-iodobenzyl ether (125I-CIBE) and (2) [125I]cholesteryl 12-(m-iodophenyl)dodecyl ether (125I-CIDE). These radioiodinated ethers were incorporated into low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by incubating the compounds (solubilized in saline with Tween-20) with isolated LDL or with whole plasma. Such LDL preparations were taken up by cultured fibroblasts in a receptor-dependent manner similar to that of radioiodinated LDL. Upon injection into guinea pigs, 125I-CIBE-labeled guinea pig LDL cleared from the plasma similarly to radioiodinated guinea pig LDL. The primary sites of 125I-CIBE uptake were the adrenal and the liver, and the compound was stable to both hydrolysis and deiodination over 24 h. In summary, 125I-CIBE and 125I-CIDE, like previously described tritiated cholesteryl ethers, appear to be potentially useful tracers of cholesteryl ester uptake. Moreover, these radioiodinated probes have the advantage of being more easily quantitated in tissue samples as well as being detectable by noninvasive scintigraphic imaging.