The distribution of infused tritiated norepinephrine (NE-3H) in small mesenteric arteries and intestinal arterioles in rats was investigated with electron microscopic radioautography. Silver grains, indicating the presence of the tritium label on the sections, were found lying mainly over axon bundles, but some were present over collagen and smooth muscle cells. Axons with the highest concentrations of silver grains had been sectioned at points where they were naked of Schwann cell sheath, were dilated into varicosities, and contained small granular vesicles. This finding was taken as confirmatory circumstantial evidence that the small granular vesicles were the sites of uptake and storage of NE. The short interval between the start of infusion and the fixation of the tissue appeared to rule out any process other than a direct uptake of NE by the peripheral axons. If axonal sites of uptake of NE-3H correspond to sites of release of NE, then the evidence suggests that such sites of release are widespread over the terminal part of the axon and are not confined to those parts of the axon which are in close contact with smooth muscle cells. Since the fixation and embedding procedures will remove NE which is not strongly bound to tissues, the localization of NE-3H in the radioautographs does not necessarily correspond to the distribution of all the NE present in vivo.

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