White fat from the newt, Triturus pyrrhogaster, fat body, and brown fat from the interscapular fat pad of newborn mice have been tested for the presence of low-resistance intercellular junctions. 42 pairs of amphibian fat cells and 15 pairs of mammalian brown fat cells were found to be "electrically coupled." In most of these cases intracellular deposition of a dye, Niagara Sky Blue: 6B, was used to supplement and confirm direct observations of impalements. Coupling was often difficult to find in both preparations, but the mechanical disturbance of the tissue during the preparative procedures may have uncoupled many cells. The fact that, in both types of fat, coupling was observed between cells separated by one or more other cells suggests that coupling may be more widespread in vivo. Electron microscopy (provided by Dr. J. -P. Revel and Mrs. K. Wolken) of the brown fat revealed frequent intercellular junctions resembling "gap junctions" but possibly lacking the substructure usually visible with colloidal lanthanum infiltration. The results are discussed in relation to current ideas about the exchange of regulatory molecules via low-resistance junctions and about the control of brown fat by hormones and nerves.

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