The cells of perfused rabbit collecting tubules swell and the intercellular spaces widen during osmotic flow of water from lumen to bath induced by antidiuretic hormone (ADH). Ouabain had no influence on these changes. In the absence of net water flow intercellular width was unaffected when tubules were swollen in hypotonic external media. Therefore, during ADH-induced flow widening of intercellular spaces is not a consequence of osmotic swelling of a closed intercellular compartment containing trapped solutes, but rather is due to flow of solution through the channel. Direct evidence of intercellular flow was obtained. Nonperfused tubules swollen in hypotonic media were reimmersed in isotonic solution with resultant entry of water into intercellular spaces. The widened spaces gradually collapsed completely. Spaces enlarged in this manner could be emptied more rapidly by increasing the transtubular hydrostatic pressure difference. In electron micrographs a path of exit of sufficient width to accommodate the observed rate of fluid flow was seen at the base of the intercellular channel. It is concluded that the intercellular spaces communicate with the external extracellular fluid and that water, having entered the cells across the luminal plasma membrane in response in ADH, leaves the cells by osmosis across both the lateral and basilar surface membranes.

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