Details of capillary endothelia of the mammalian heart are described and compared with capillaries of other organs and tissues. Continuous invagination and pinching off of the plasma membrane to form small vesicles which move across the cytoplasm are suggested as constituting a means of active and selective transmission through capillary walls (12). This might be designated as cytopempsis (transmission by cell).
The fine structure of the different layers in the walls of small heart arteries is demonstrated. Endothelial protrusions extend through windows of the elestica interna to make direct contact with smooth muscle plasma membranes. The elastica interna appears to vary greatly in both thickness and density, and probably restricts filtration, diffusion, and osmosis to such an extent that windows and the transport mechanisms described (cytopempsis) are necessary for the functional integrity of the smooth muscle layer. The contractile material consists of very fine, poorly oriented filaments.