The general architecture of capillary and alveolar walls of the mouse lung was studied by means of the electron microscope. In order to minimize tissue damage and to improve the cutting properties of embeddings, several modifications in the tissue processing methods were adopted. These modifications were: fixation by infusion, a prolonged time of dehydration, of impregnation, and of polymerization, the use of acetone for dehydration, ammonium sulfide treatment of the fixed and washed tissue, and an elevated (80°C.) polymerization temperature combined with the use of prepolymerized methacrylate. The generally favorable effects of these modified methods upon preservation and cutting properties of embedded tissue are discussed.
Both capillary endothelium and alveolar epithelium were found continuous and without pores. The endothelium was seen to be thinnest in those portions that were adjacent to alveolar air spaces. Two morphological "types" of alveolar epithelial cells were found. One protruded into the alveolar lumen with its thick portion containing the nucleus. The other was often located in a niche of the alveolar wall, and contained peculiar dark inclusions amidst numerous mitochondria. Both were attenuated at their periphery to form the thin epithelial layer. The layer between endothelium and epithelium was designated as basement membrane. It was seen to be generally thin and structureless, but was found thickened in some areas where it also contained collagen fibrils.