The permeability of the alveolar-capillary membrane of newborn and adult mice to horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and catalase was studied by means of ultrastructural cytochemistry, and the permeability to ferritin was studied by electron microscopy. The influence of varying volumes of intravenously injected fluid on the rate of leakage of the tracers from pulmonary capillaries was examined. The tracers were injected intravenously and the mice were sacrificed at timed intervals. Experiments on newborn mice with intranasally instilled HRP were also done. The tissues were fixed in formaldehyde-glutaraldehyde fixative. Chopped sections were incubated in Graham and Karnovsky's medium for peroxidase and in a modification of this medium for catalase. Tissues were postfixed in OsO4 and processed for electron microscopy. In both newborn and adult mice, the ready passage of peroxidase through endothelial clefts was dependent on the injection of the tracer in large volumes of saline. When the tracer was injected in small volumes of saline, its passage through endothelial clefts was greatly reduced. Endothelial junctions of newborn mice were somewhat more permeable to HRP than those of adult mice. In all animals, alveolar epithelial junctions were impermeable to HRP. Catalase and ferritin did not pass through endothelial junctions. Intranasally instilled HRP in newborn mice was taken up by pinocytotic vesicles and tubules of flat alveolar cells.

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