1. Granules characterized by their ability to segregate foreign proteins (phagosomes) were identified in the cells of many rat organs after intravenous administration of horseradish peroxidase, by using the conventional test with benzidine for the histochemical detection of peroxidase. The largest numbers of phagosomes were identified in kidney and liver. Considerable numbers were observed cytochemically in pancreas, prostate, epididymis, thymus, spleen, bone marrow, small intestine, heart, pituitary, and mouse mammary carcinoma.
2. The variation in size of the phagosomes ranging from the limit of microscopic visibility up to 5 µ diameter, previously described for kidney, was also observed to occur in many of the other organs. The average size of the phagosomes in different organs was also different, the phagosomes of the liver, for example being on the average smaller than those of the kidney, pancreas, and prostate.
3. In squash preparations of kidney and liver, the phagosomes appeared often in curved rows following the course of the cell membranes of epithelial cells. In several other organs, they appeared aggregated in cells located in the vicinity of blood or lymphatic vessels or capillaries.
4. After injection of peroxidase directly into the brain of a rabbit, a striking concentration of peroxidase was observed in phagosomes of endothelial cells of capillaries and vessels, surrounding the site of injection. It was suggested that this localization may offer an explanation for the so called blood-brain barrier.
5. The cytochemical peroxidase method was applied to smears of isolated fractions of kidney and liver. Only the isolated phagosomes, but not the isolated nuclei, mitochondria, and microsomes, reacted with benzidine after administration of peroxidase. The contamination of conventionally prepared nuclear, mitochondrial, and microsomal fractions of kidney and liver with phagosomes of different sizes was observed. By correlating the cytochemical peroxidase test of smears of isolated fractions with the colorimetric determination of peroxidase, acid phosphatase, and cytochrome oxidase in the same fractions, the differentiation of the phagosomes from mitochondria and other cell granules was facilitated.
6. The marked difference in the osmotic properties of phagosomes and mitochondria, detectable after treatment with 70 per cent alcohol, and the difference in their affinities towards basic fuchsin, made it possible to differentiate the phagosomes from the mitochondria. It was found by this simple procedure that kidney cells of normal rats contain a large number of phagosomes ranging in size from 0.5 to 3 µ, whereas liver cells of normal rats contain relatively few phagosomes of this size but many smaller ones (0.2 to 0.5 µ diameter). These increased in size after treatment of the rats with horseradish peroxidase.