The transendothelial passage of horseradish peroxidase, injected intravenously into mice, was studied at the ultrastructural level in capillaries of cardiac and skeletal muscle. Peroxidase appeared to permeate endothelial intercellular clefts and cell junctions. Abnormal peroxidase-induced vascular leakage was excluded. Neutral lanthanum tracer gave similar results. The endothelial cell junctions were considered to be maculae occludentes, with gaps of about 40 A in width between the maculae, rather than zonulae occludentes. Some observations in favor of concurrent vesicular transport of peroxidase were also made. It is concluded that the endothelial cell junctions are most likely to be the morphological equivalent of the small pore system proposed by physiologists for the passage of small, lipid-insoluble molecules across the endothelium.

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