Electron microscope observations are consistent with the interpretation that the elements of the endoplasmic reticulum are osmotically active in situ as well as after isolation. More recently, it has been reported that microsomal suspensions equilibrate almost completely with added C14-sucrose and that no osmotic behavior is evident from photometric data. These findings were considered at variance with the electron microscope data. However, equilibration with added label simply attests to a relatively high permeability, and, in addition, the photometric data need not be critical. Osmotic volume changes, measured photometrically, may be masked by concomitant events (e.g., changes in the refractive index of the test solutions at varying osmotic pressures, breakdown of the particles, and agglutination). For these reasons the photometric experiments were repeated. In this work, the reciprocal of optical density of microsomal suspensions was found to vary linearly with the reciprocal of concentration of the medium at constant refractive index. These changes probably correspond to osmotic volume changes, since the effect was found to be (a) independent of substance used and (b) osmotically reversible. The transmission of the suspension was found to vary with the refractive index of the medium, the concentration of particles, and the wavelength of incident light, according to relationships that are similar to or identical with those obtained for mitochondrial suspensions.

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