Intercellular junctions in the mesothelium of the visceral (mesentery and omentum), and parietal (diaphragm, pre-aortic, and iliac region) peritoneum were examined in rats and mice by using freeze-cleaved preparations. In addition to usual intercellular junctions (cell body junctions), special junctions are found between cell processes and the surface of the neighboring cell (cell process junctions). Cell body junctions are provided with tight junctions and communicating (gap) junctions. The former consist of one to two junctional strands which show a characteristic staggered arrangement, and focal discontinuities. In cell process junctions, the strands form loops or appear as short, free-ending elements; their polymorphism suggests considerable lability, probably in connection with their assembly and disassembly. The existence of free-ending strands indicates that such structures can be used as attachment devices without being concomitantly involved in the formation of occluding zonules. In both types of junctions, the strands can be resolved into bars, approximately 80- 100nm long, frequently provided with terminal enlargements and intercalated particles which occur singly or in small clusters. These particles are morphologically similar to those present in communicating (gap) junctions. The mesothelium is also provided with isolate composite macular junctions. Throughout the mesothelium, the cleavage plane follows the outer contour of junctional strands and particles, suggesting that strand-to-strand interactions in the apposed membranes are weaker than interactions between each strand and underlying cytoplasmic structures. In their general geometry and cleavage characteristics, the mesothelial junctions resemble the junctions found in the venular endothelium.

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