Section freeze-dry radioautography has been used to examine the intrarenal distribution of a water-soluble organic acid (para-aminohippuric acid (PAH-3H)) under constant-infusion, steady-state conditions in mouse and rat kidney in vivo. The technique described here has the following advantages: (a) Sectioning and freeze-drying are accomplished in a closed cryostat at temperatures below -40°C; (b) Handling of the section is facilitated by mounting of the section-to-be on adhesive-coated Saran Wrap prior to cutting; (c) Unembedded freeze-dried sections are attached to photographic film at ambient temperature in the dark room; (d) Fixation follows completion of radioautographic exposure and precedes photographic development; (e) Permanent close contact is maintained between tissue and film. Morphologic preservation compared favorably with that obtained by optimal fixation techniques, which, however, permit diffusion. Cellular accumulation of PAH-3H during secretion was demonstrated in the proximal tubule under steady-state conditions in vivo. The cellular concentration of PAH-3H was uniform throughout the length of the proximal tubule in mouse and rat kidney.

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